Process Mechanics of Cloudiness Transitions in Subtropical Marine Boundary Layers

Marine boundary layer (MBL) clouds cover a substantial portion of the global oceans and strongly modulate the planetary radiation budget. The morphology of MBL clouds is complex, ranging from single layer stratiform clouds in the high-latitudes, combinations of stratiform and cumuliform clouds in the mid-latitudes, and mainly cumuliform clouds in the tropics. 

The goal of the project is to gain a deeper understanding of the cloud formation and evolution physics responsible for clouds transitioning from single layer stratocumulus in the high latitudes to mixed cumulus and stratocumulus in the mid-latitudes. We are particularly interested in the shifting balance of driving forces in these transition stages, and we capitalize on a newly developed causal framework to expose these shifts. Key drivers for MBL cloud transitions will be used to build causal webs, illustrating the pathways and evolution the underlying processes and interactions.