Apport des observations par lidar spatial pour comprendre l'effet radiatif des nuages dans l'infrarouge

Abstract : Because cloud processes are complex processes which operate at very different spatial scales, the evolution of the cloud radiative effect (CRE) in a warming climate is uncertain. To improve our understanding of the evolution of the CRE, it is useful to express it as a function of fundamental and observable cloud properties. In the infrared (LW), the altitude of clouds is one of the fundamental properties, together with their cover and opacity. The observations collected by the space-lidar CALIOP during the last decade allowed us to express the LW CRE using five cloud properties. We show that the LW CRE depends linearly on the cloud altitude. This linearity allows to decompose the variations of the LW CRE into contributions due to the five cloud properties. We observe that the cover of the opaque clouds drove the variations of the LW CRE during the last decade. The analysis of climate simulations performing the same approach by means of a lidar simulator shows that the variations of the LW CRE in the current climate are driven by the opaque cloud altitude, in disagreement with the observations. When we extend this analysis to the LW cloud feedback simulated in a future climate, we notice that they are also driven by the opaque cloud altitude. These results suggest that the space-lidar observations bring a strong observational constraint on the LW cloud feedbacks, which are one of the main sources of uncertainty in predicting future global average temperature evolution due to human activities.
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Thibault Vaillant de Guélis. Apport des observations par lidar spatial pour comprendre l'effet radiatif des nuages dans l'infrarouge. Météorologie. Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017PA066580⟩. ⟨tel-01760630v2⟩

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