Clouds: structure, microphysics, variability

John Constable-228965Clouds have fascinated us for thousands of years. Behind their natural beauty lies a tremendous complexity that continues to elude complete theoretical understanding. The fundamental role that clouds play in the Earth’s climate system means that it is important that we search for better ways to understand and describe the processes than control their formation, maintenance, and dissipation.

From submicron-sized cloud condensation nuclei activated in seconds, to cloud systems spanning thousands of kilometers and lasting several days, cloud processes span an enormous range of temporal and spatial scales. Furthermore, the ability to better understand the behavior of clouds requires novel combinations of knowledge drawn from the forefront of physics, chemistry and mathematics.

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Professor, Atmospheric Sciences, Univ. of Washington