Project TERRA: A Glimpse into the Future of Weather and Climate Modeling

  • Isidoro Orlanski
  • Christopher Kerr


One major challenge in obtaining useful numerical simulations of weather and climate is addressing the sensitivity of these simulations to the characteristics and distribution of clouds in the model(s). Latent heat release produced in clouds as a consequence of moist convection can dramatically affect the dynamics that govern the development of larger scale weather systems and storm tracks. Also, given the profound effects of cloud distribution on the radiative characteristics of the atmosphere, these interactions critically affect the models’ climate and thus our conclusions regarding climate change.

A very high resolution global model has recently been run at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) to investigate the potential value of cloudresolving numerical models to weather forecasts and climate simulations. Dubbed “Project TERRA”, this experiment was conceived as an experimental 1-day simulation with GFDL’s ZETAC model.


Storm Track Liquid Water Content Wall Clock Time Moist Convection Hydrostatic Model 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isidoro Orlanski
  • Christopher Kerr

There are no affiliations available

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