Lecture 14 of series on
Environmental Meteorology: From the Fundamentals of Climate to Operational Applications
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Shallow convection exhibits a large diversity of spatial organizations at the mesoscale. Patterns such as cloud streets, open cells or closed cells have long been identified and characterized, but they are not representative of the patterns that can be found over the warm subtropical oceans. Recently, a few prominent patterns of trade-wind clouds have been identified over the tropical western Atlantic. Based on observations, I will show that these patterns depend on environmental conditions, and that they exert different radiative impacts. This raises two questions: What are the physical processes underlying changes in the mesoscale organization of shallow clouds? and do they matter for climate feedbacks? Answering these questions was one of the motivations for organizing the EUREC4A campaign (http://eurec4a.eu). During this field study which took place in Jan-Feb 2020 near Barbados, multiple observing platforms characterized the trade-wind clouds together with their dynamical and thermodynamical environment on a wide range of scales. I will present early insights from the campaign, and will discuss some of the processes that appear to be important for the mesoscale organization of tradewind clouds.
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