Snow Reconciles Observed and Simulated Phase Partitioning and Increases Cloud Feedback

Grégory V. Cesana, Andrew S. Ackerman, Ann M. Fridlind, Israel Silber, Maxwell Kelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The surprising increase of Earth's climate sensitivity in the most recent coupled model intercomparison project (CMIP) models has been largely attributed to extratropical cloud feedback, which is thought to be driven by greater supercooled water in present-day cloud phase partitioning (CPP). Here, we report that accounting for precipitation in the Goddard Institute for Space Studies ModelE3 radiation scheme, neglected in more than 60% of CMIP6 and 90% of CMIP5 models, systematically changes its apparent CPP and substantially increases its cloud feedback, consistent with results using CMIP models. Including precipitation in the comparison with cloud–aerosol lidar and infrared pathfinder satellite observations (CALIPSO) measurements and in model radiation schemes is essential to faithfully constrain cloud amount and phase partitioning, and simulate cloud feedbacks. Our findings suggest that making radiation schemes precipitation-aware (missing in most CMIP6 models) should strengthen their positive cloud feedback and further increase their already high mean climate sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021GL094876
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume48
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 28 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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