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Clouds and Precipitation Response to Anthropogenic Changes in the Natural Environment (CAPRI)
Start date: Sep 1, 2012, End date: Aug 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Clouds and precipitation play a crucial role in the Earth's energy balance, global atmospheric circulation and the water cycle. Despite their importance, clouds still pose the largest uncertainty in climate research.I propose a new approach for studying anthropogenic effects on cloud fields and rain, tackling the challenge from both scientific ends: reductionism and systems approach. We will develop a novel research approach using observations and models interactively that will allow us to “peel apart” detailed physical processes. In parallel we will develop a systems view of cloud fields looking for Emergent Behavior rising out of the complexity, as the end result of all of the coupled processes. Better understanding of key processes on a detailed (reductionist) manner will enable us to formulate the important basic rules that control the field and to look for emergence of the overall effects.We will merge ideas and methods from four different disciplines: remote sensing and radiative transfer, cloud physics, pattern recognition and computer vision and ideas developed in systems approach. All of this will be done against the backdrop of natural variability of meteorological systems.The outcomes of this work will include fundamental new understanding of the coupled surface-aerosol-cloud-precipitation system. More importantly this work will emphasize the consequences of human actions on the environment, and how we change our climate and hydrological cycle as we input pollutants and transform the Earth’s surface. This work will open new horizons in cloud research by developing novel methods and employing the bulk knowledge of pattern recognition, complexity, networking and self organization to cloud and climate studies. We are proposing a long-term, open-ended program of study that will have scientific and societal relevance as long as human-caused influences continue, evolve and change.

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