OK, here goes a first post.  I thought I would start off by talking a little bit about a recent paper on which I was a coauthor.  The paper can be found here: Ubiquity and impact of thin mid-level clouds in the tropics.  In this paper as part of his graduate work at Stockholm University, lead author Quentin Bourgeois used the CALIPSO lidar to look for a predominantly overlooked cloud type in the tropical convective atmosphere: optically and physically thin clouds above the freezing level but below the peak outflow layer from deep convection.  Quentin found that clouds meeting these criteria were surprisingly common in the tropics both over ocean and over land.  I think there are two main takeaways here.  The first is that the cloud population in the tropics is much more complex than we often give it credit for.  Because these thin clouds do not rain, they don’t show up on radar, and because of their ethereal nature, they are difficult to simulate.  This has made them easy to overlook.  The second is that simple methodologies, like the one employed in this paper, can be incredibly powerful.  We learned a lot about these clouds without obscuring what we were examining.