Articles | Volume 9, issue 1
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 9, 155–161, 2009
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 9, 155–161, 2009

  12 Jan 2009

12 Jan 2009

Cloud's Center of Gravity – a compact approach to analyze convective cloud development

I. Koren1, O. Altaratz1, G. Feingold2, Z. Levin3, and T. Reisin4 I. Koren et al.
  • 1Dept. of Environ. Sciences Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel
  • 2NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 3Dept. of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • 4Soreq Nuclear Research Center, Yavne, Israel

Abstract. As cloud resolving models become more detailed, with higher resolution outputs, it is often complicated to isolate the physical processes that control the cloud attributes. Moreover, due to the high dimensionality and complexity of the model output, the analysis and interpretation of the results can be very complicated. Here we suggest a novel approach to convective cloud analysis that yields more insight into the physical and temporal evolution of clouds, and is compact and efficient. The different (3-D) cloud attributes are weighted and projected onto a single point in space and in time, that has properties of, or similar to, the Center Of Gravity (COG). The location, magnitude and spread of this variable are followed in time. The implications of the COG approach are demonstrated for a study of aerosol effects on a warm convective cloud. We show that in addition to reducing dramatically the dimensionality of the output, such an approach often enhances the signal, adds more information, and makes the physical description of cloud evolution clearer, allowing unambiguous comparison of clouds evolving in different environmental conditions. This approach may also be useful for analysis of cloud data retrieved from surface or space-based cloud radars.

Final-revised paper