We all know that climate change impacts on weather systems and ecosystems around the world, but how and in what ways is still the subject of intense research. New simulations, made possible by higher-powered computers, suggest that cloud cover over the oceans can die as soon as a certain level of CO2 is reached, which accelerates warming and contributes to a vicious circle.
much more detailed simulation of cloud formation and the effects of solar radiation on it. The researchers at the California Institute of Technology explain that previous simulation techniques were not nearly granular enough to solve effects that occur in the meter range instead of in kilometers.
These global climate models seem to hit the prediction of stratocumulus clouds particularly badly Over the ocean ̵
Because stratocumulus clouds cover 20% of the tropical oceans and critically affect the Earth's energy balance reflect 30-60% of the incoming shortwave radiation into space1)), problems simulating their response to climate change are reflected in the global response to the climate.
A more accurate and precise simulation of clouds was needed to tell how rising temperatures and greenhouse gas concentrations could affect them. That's one thing the technology can help with.
"Advances in High Performance Computing and the Large Eddy Simulation (LES) of Clouds" enabled researchers to "simulate statistically stationary states of Stratocumulus-crowned boundary layers." Restricted regions. "A" restricted region "in this case means the 5 × 5 km area, which has been simulated in detail.
The improved simulations showed something unpleasant: When the CO2 concentrations reached about 1,200 parts per million, there was a sudden collapse of cloud formation as cooling at the cloud tops is disturbed by excessive incident radiation. Result (as you can see above): Clouds do not form so easily, allow more sun and make the heating problem even worse. The process could contribute up to 8 or 10 degrees to warming in the subtropics.
Of course, there are caveats: simulations are just simulations, though they have well predicted today's conditions, and the many processes within that cloud seem to accurately reflect systems (and remember – the inherent mistake could be against us and not for us ). And we are still a long way from 1,200 PPM. Current NOAA measurements are based on 411 but are increasing steadily.
It would take decades for this to happen, though it would be catastrophic and probably irreversible.
On the other hand, great climatic conditions Events such as volcanoes can temporarily but forcefully change these measures, as has happened previously. Earth has previously experienced such sudden temperature and CO2 jumps, and the feedback loop of cloud loss and the resulting warming could explain this. (Quanta has a great review with more context and background, if you're interested.)
Researchers are demanding more research into the possibility of stratocumulus instability and filling in the gaps they had to gauge in their model. The more heads (and GPU clusters) the better the idea of how climate change affects certain weather systems like this one.