University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Centre for Atmospheric Science seminars, Chemistry Dept. > Inferring causality in the atmosphere - constraining aerosol-cloud interactions from observations

Inferring causality in the atmosphere - constraining aerosol-cloud interactions from observations

Add to your list(s) Download to your calendar using vCal

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Michael Herzog.

Atmospheric aerosols are known to modify cloud properties, with a net cooling effect on the earth. However, the magnitude of this cooling effect is highly uncertain, largely due to the difficulty of separating the changes aerosols cause in cloud properties from those of other meteorological factors. For example, both aerosol optical depth (AOD – used as a proxy for aerosol number) and cloud fraction (CF) are strongly affected by relative humidity, such that the correlation between AOD and CF is not a good indicator of the causal effect of aerosols on CF. As CF is strongly correlated to many other cloud properties, this in turn obscures the causal effect of aerosols on these cloud properties.

The standard method for separating causal effects is direct experiment. Unfortunately, direct experiments on the atmosphere are often difficult, expensive and even unethical, requiring approaches based only on observation. In this talk, several possible methods for separating the effect of aerosols on clouds from those of the surrounding meteorology are demonstrated. These observational results are compared to results from global climate models to assess how well they can actually constrain causal aerosol-cloud relationships. Finally, techniques more common to economics and public health are used to evaluate the effect of aerosols on CF at a global scale, reducing the uncertainty in the anthropogenic forcing of the climate.

This talk is part of the Centre for Atmospheric Science seminars, Chemistry Dept. series.

Tell a friend about this talk:

This talk is included in these lists:

Note that ex-directory lists are not shown.

 

© 2006-2020 Talks.cam, University of Cambridge. Contact Us | Help and Documentation | Privacy and Publicity