I was flipping through my (digital) stack of papers and articles to read this afternoon when I stumbled upon a commentary article I’ve had sitting around for a few months. Tropical anvil clouds and climate sensitivity reviews in an easy to read way the basic state of our knowledge regarding the radiative heating of clouds in the current climate. The point I found most interesting is one buried toward the end. The author argues that the new challenge facing cloud-climate types is to determine a general physical law governing the relative distribution of optically thick clouds (which will cool the climate all else being equal) and optically thin clouds (that will warm the climate all else being equal). This is precisely the kind of work we do here in the Convective Atmosphere Group. Why are some clouds tall and narrow? Why are some short and wide? Increasingly, climate predictions will depend on answering those kinds of fundamental questions. It’s all about that optical thickness.
Also, I am now an official CocoRaH’s observer: “0.7 miles NNE of Davis”. You should join too.