EUREC4A: A Field Campaign to Elucidate the Couplings Between Clouds, Convection and Circulation

  • Sandrine BonyEmail author
  • Bjorn Stevens
  • Felix Ament
  • Sebastien Bigorre
  • Patrick Chazette
  • Susanne Crewell
  • Julien Delanoë
  • Kerry Emanuel
  • David Farrell
  • Cyrille Flamant
  • Silke Gross
  • Lutz Hirsch
  • Johannes Karstensen
  • Bernhard Mayer
  • Louise Nuijens
  • James H. RuppertJr.
  • Irina Sandu
  • Pier Siebesma
  • Sabrina Speich
  • Frédéric Szczap
  • Julien Totems
  • Raphaela Vogel
  • Manfred Wendisch
  • Martin Wirth
Part of the Space Sciences Series of ISSI book series (SSSI, volume 65)


Trade-wind cumuli constitute the cloud type with the highest frequency of occurrence on Earth, and it has been shown that their sensitivity to changing environmental conditions will critically influence the magnitude and pace of future global warming. Research over the last decade has pointed out the importance of the interplay between clouds, convection and circulation in controling this sensitivity. Numerical models represent this interplay in diverse ways, which translates into different responses of tradecumuli to climate perturbations. Climate models predict that the area covered by shallow cumuli at cloud base is very sensitive to changes in environmental conditions, while process models suggest the opposite. To understand and resolve this contradiction, we propose to organize a field campaign aimed at quantifying the physical properties of tradecumuli (e.g., cloud fraction and water content) as a function of the large-scale environment. Beyond a better understanding of clouds-circulation coupling processes, the campaign will provide a reference data set that may be used as a benchmark for advancing the modelling and the satellite remote sensing of clouds and circulation. It will also be an opportunity for complementary investigations such as evaluating model convective parameterizations or studying the role of ocean mesoscale eddies in air–sea interactions and convective organization.


Trade-wind cumulus Shallow convection Cloud feedback Atmospheric circulation Field campaign 


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The authors acknowledge Aure´lien Bourdon, the CNRS-Me´te´o-France-CNES SAFIRE facility for the scientific airborne operations (, Didier Bruneau and Jacques Pelon for technical discussions, and the professional ULA pilot Franck Toussaint and the Air Creation company for having made the ULA-borne lidar tests possible. The paper benefited from stimulating discussions at the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) workshop on ‘‘Shallow clouds and water vapour, circulation and climate sensitivity’’. The EUREC4A project is supported by the European Research Council (ERC), under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant Agreement No. 694768), by the Max Planck Society and by DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, German Research Foundation) Priority Program SPP 1294.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandrine Bony
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bjorn Stevens
    • 2
  • Felix Ament
    • 4
  • Sebastien Bigorre
    • 5
  • Patrick Chazette
    • 3
  • Susanne Crewell
    • 6
  • Julien Delanoë
    • 7
  • Kerry Emanuel
    • 8
  • David Farrell
    • 9
  • Cyrille Flamant
    • 7
  • Silke Gross
    • 10
  • Lutz Hirsch
    • 2
  • Johannes Karstensen
    • 11
  • Bernhard Mayer
    • 12
  • Louise Nuijens
    • 13
  • James H. RuppertJr.
    • 2
  • Irina Sandu
    • 14
  • Pier Siebesma
    • 16
  • Sabrina Speich
    • 15
  • Frédéric Szczap
    • 17
  • Julien Totems
    • 3
  • Raphaela Vogel
    • 2
  • Manfred Wendisch
    • 18
  • Martin Wirth
    • 10
  1. 1.LMD/IPSL, CNRSSorbonne Université, UPMCParisFrance
  2. 2.Max Planck Institute for MeteorologyHamburgGermany
  3. 3.LSCE/IPSL, CNRS-CEA-UVSQCEA SaclayGif sur YvetteFrance
  4. 4.University of HamburgHamburgGermany
  5. 5.Woods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionWoods HoleUSA
  6. 6.University of CologneCologneGermany
  7. 7.LATMOS/IPSL, CNRS-UPMC-UVSQGuyancourtFrance
  8. 8.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  9. 9.Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and HydrologyBridgetownBarbados
  10. 10.German Aerospace CenterOberpfaffenhofen-WesslingGermany
  11. 11.GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean ResearchKielGermany
  12. 12.Ludwig-Maximilians University of MunichMunichGermany
  13. 13.Delft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  14. 14.ECMWFReadingUK
  15. 15.LMD/IPSLEcole Normale SupérieureParisFrance
  16. 16.Delft University of Technology and Royal Netherlands Meteorological InstituteDe BiltNetherlands
  17. 17.Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique, UMR6016, CNRSAubièreFrance
  18. 18.University of LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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