Four science questions for a Grand Challenge
- Clouds, circulation and climate sensitivity: Nature Geoscience 8, 261–268 (2015) doi:10.1038/ngeo2398 (March 2015)
S.Bony, B. Stevens, D. M. W. Frierson, C. Jakob, M. Kageyama, R. Pincus, T. G. Shepherd, S. C. Sherwood, A. P. Siebesma, A. H. Sobel, M. Watanabe & M. J. Webb (2015)
As the Earth warms, new questions arise concerning how clouds and circulation systems respond. These questions are both intellectually fascinating and societally important. Will cloud systems organize in entirely different ways in a warmer climate, so as to decrease the warming from CO2? Will shifts in midlatitude storms, or monsoon systems, reshape nations and societies in the future? Does the nature of tropical convection - still one of nature's most mysterious processes - hold the key for the pace of warming?
Answers to these questions are crucial for societies grappling with how to design effective policies for dealing with climate change. Because of technological advances in supercomputing and observational networks, they are also becoming more accessible to researchers.
In a 2015 article featured in Nature Geoscience, Sandrine Bony and Bjorn Stevens describe a new initiative to address these challenges by describing what they believe to be four of the most important questions that would benefit from coordinated scientific action. Bjorn Stevens: "For a long time the scientific community has focused on understanding how much Earth's average temperature will rise for a given input of CO2. We have been slow to realize that to craft effective adaptation policies on the local, regional and national scale it will be important to understand how circulation systems will change with warming. In awakening to this question we have also come to appreciate that changes in circulation systems are closely coupled to how clouds and radiative transfer interact with those systems."
WCRP White paper
- Grand Challenge on Clouds, Circulation and Climate Sensitivity, S. Bony, B. Stevens
WCRP Position papers
- Carbon Dioxide and Climate : Perspectives on a Scientific Assessment (2013)
Bony S., B. Stevens, I. Held, J. Mitchell, J.-L. Dufresne, K. Emanuel, P. Friedlingstein, S. Griffies and C. Senior, Monograph on Climate Science for Serving Society: Research, Modelling and Prediction Priorities, Springer, G. Asrar and J. Hurrel editors, in press.
- Climate Processes: Clouds, Aerosols and Dynamics (2013)
Sherwood S., M. J. Alexander, A. Brown, N. McFarlane, E. Gerber and G. Feingold, Monograph on Climate Science for Serving Society: Research, Modelling and Prediction Priorities, Springer, G. Asrar and J. Hurrel editors, in press.
- Clouds, Circulation and Climate Sensitivity, S. Bony and B. Stevens, 17th Session of the WGCM, 1-3 October 2013, Victoria - Canada
- Clouds, Circulation and Climate Sensitivity - A Grand Challenge of the World Climate Research Programme for the next 5-10 years, S. Bony and B. Stevens, WGNE workshop on model systematic errors, 15-19 April, Exeter - UK
- 23-27 March 2015: Ringberg15: Earth's Climate Sensitivities, Schloss Ringberg, Germany
WCRP Report No. 11/2015
- 24-28 March 2014: Workshop Clouds, Circulation and Climate Sensitivity: A Grand Science Challenge, Schloss Ringberg, Germany
WCRP Report No. 8/2014
- 10-12 February 2014: Workshop on Water in the Climate System, Boston, USA
For the workshop report, click here.
Other related papers
- Back to basics - Nature Climate Change
- Rethinking the lower bound on Aerosol Radiative Forcing - American Meteorological Society (AMS)
- Atmospheric circulation as a source of uncertainty in climate change projects - Nature Geoscience
- Missing iris effect as a possible cause of muted hydrological change and high climate sensitivity in models - Nature Geoscience
- Circulation response to warming shaped by radiative changes of clouds and water vapour - Nature Geoscience
- Water in the atmosphere - Physics Today (June 2013)
B. Stevens and S. Bony
- What are climate models missing? - Science, VOL 340 pp 1053 (31 May 2013)
B. Stevens and S. Bony