Contrasting Responses of Idealised and Realistic Simulations of Shallow Cumuli to Aerosol Perturbations

George Spill*, Philip Stier, Paul R. Field, Guy Dagan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Shallow clouds remain greatly significant in improving our understanding of the atmosphere. Using the Met Office Unified Model, we compare highly idealised simulations of shallow cumuli with those using more realistic domains, with open lateral boundaries and varying large-scale forcing. We find that the realistic simulations are more capable of representing the cloud field on large spatial scales, and appear to limit the aerosol perturbations leading to impacts on the thermodynamic conditions. Aerosol perturbations lead to changes in the cloud vertical structure, and thermodynamic evolution of the idealised simulations; a central feature of behavior seen previously in idealised simulations. Modelling approaches with open boundaries and time-varying forcing may allow for improved representation of shallow clouds in the atmosphere, and greater understanding of how they may respond to perturbations.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere2021GL094137
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021. The Authors.


  • Aerosol-cloud interactions
  • Clouds
  • Shallow convection


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