PROJECT 1: Atmosphere

Climate models have persistent biases in high southern latitudes. These biases reduce the skill of climate model projections not just in Antarctica but globally. Of particular importance are biases in the radiation budget arising from inadequate representation of cloud processes and aerosols over the Southern Ocean which impacts simulated temperature at the Earth’s surface and modelling of key climate processes. The AAPP will use observations from ships, aircraft, and satellites to improve understanding of the unique cloud and aerosol properties in the pristine atmosphere at high southern latitudes. These insights will then be used to develop new parameterisations of clouds and aerosols for use in climate models, including the Australian Community Climate and Earth System Model (ACCESS).

The key science questions for this project are:

  • What are the most important deficiencies in weather and climate models that hinder the accurate representation of cloud, radiation and precipitation over the Southern Ocean and Antarctic regions and how are these processes likely to change in a warming climate?
  • What are the fundamental properties of aerosols over the Southern Ocean, how do emissions from ocean biota lead to aerosol formation and modification, and how do these properties subsequently affect the properties of clouds, precipitation, and the surface energy balance?
  • What is the role of ubiquitous super-cooled liquid water clouds in driving the surface radiation biases over the Southern Ocean, and how can we improve their representation in models?