Atmospheric System Research


Land-Atmosphere Interactions and Surface Radiative Forcing (ASR)

DOE-SC-Biological and Environmental Research
Sky and field. Cr. Roy Kaltschmidt. © Berkeley Lab

Sky and field. Credit Roy Kaltschmidt. © Berkeley Lab

Land Atmosphere-Interactions schematic

Boundary-­layer clouds often fail to develop into precipitating deep convection. One hypothesis is that higher sensible heating (due to less soil evaporation or plant transpiration) is needed for boundary-layer plumes to reach the level of free convection.

This Land-Atmosphere Interactions and Surface Radiative Forcing (ASR) project advances understanding and prediction of land-atmosphere interactions and greenhouse gas radiative forcing at Earth’s surface. We use observations to model the processes linking Earth’s carbon, water, and energy cycles—from soil moisture and vegetation to clouds, radiation, and precipitation. We also observe the direct radiative effects of CO2 and CH4 on climate, using ARM spectroscopic measurements. Our research is yielding new insights into processes governing the water cycle over land, and is enabling rigorous testing of radiative transfer in climate models.

This project is part of CESD’s Atmospheric Systems Research (ASR) program, and is supported by DOE Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research.