Related Activities

CFMIP is related to a number of other activities, which include other WCRP programmes, international observation campaign, and model intercomparison projects.

What processes control patterns of warming over Tropical Oceans?

TROPICS is a collaborative working group under the CLIVAR Climate Dynamics panel. TROPICS brings multiple communities together working on the tropical sea surface temperature pattern formation mechanisms. The science involves interaction between global dynamics, air-sea interaction, and radiative processes, requiring cross-discipline collaboration and communication. Therefore, the core leadership group consists of representatives from CLIVAR Climate Dynamic Panel, CLIVAR Pacific Panel, and WCRP CFMIP under the leadership of Sarah Kang, Mat Collins, Masa Watanabe, Yen-Ting Hwang, Malte Stuecker and Shayne McGregor. See the TROPICS website for more info.

WCRP Grand Challenge on Clouds, Circulation and Climate Sensitivity

From 2013-2022, WCRP initiated Grand Challenges which target several science issues to be solved within ten years in climate research area. Read more about these efforts ...

Of the seven themes, the Grand Challenge on Clouds, Circulation and Climate Sensitivity was particularly relevant to the CFMIP community. In this "cloud Grand Challenge", four important questions were elevated;

For more details, please see: Bony, S., B. Stevens, D. Frierson, C. Jakob, M. Kageyama, R. Pincus, T. Shepherd, S. Sherwood, P. Siebesma, A. Sobel, M. Watanabe, and M. Webb, 2015: Clouds, circulation and climate sensitivity. Nature Geoscience, 8, 261-268, doi:10.1038/ngeo2398.

This Grand Challenge has opened a number of new opportunities including workshops, summer schools model intercomparison, and observational campaigns. Many of these themes continue within CFMIP science today (2023-present).


The EUCLIPSE project (2010-2014) was an international effort, funded under theme 9 "Environment" of Framework Program 7 of the European Union, designed to improve the evaluation, understanding and description of the role of clouds in the Earth's climate with a focus on the cloud feedback in a warming climate.

Cloud feedbacks in Earth System Models (ESMs) remain the largest source of uncertainty in projections of future climate. They are also a major contributor to uncertainty in other feedbacks (e.g., surface albedo, carbon cycle) in the Earth System. Through interactions with the large-scale circulation, cloud processes also contribute to synoptic circulations and regional climate. They are therefore critical to the prediction of future changes in precipitation patterns, climate variability and extreme events.

The central objective of EUCLIPSE was to reduce the uncertainty in the representation of cloud processes and feedbacks in the new generation of Earth System Models (ESMs), in support of the IPCC's fifth assessment report. Novel, process-oriented evaluations of clouds in present-day and future climate simulations made by the leading European ESMs identified the cloud types and processes responsible for the spread in climate sensitivity and future precipitation changes across the models, and for deficiencies in the simulation of the present-day climate. The new diagnostics and metrics developed in EUCLIPSE informed targeted sensitivity experiments to isolate the processes responsible for cloud feedback uncertainty.

In EUCLIPSE, four distinct communities worked together across a set of integrated work packages over a four-year period: the observational community will provide state-of-the-art measurements from ground- and space-based active and passive remote sensing; the numerical weather prediction community provided analyses of short timescale model biases induced by cloud processes; the cloud modeling community provided fine-scale models as an additional tool for understanding cloud behavior in a changing climate; finally, the climate modeling community synthesized the physical understanding and observational constraints identified by the other communities to improve the representation and assessment of cloud processes in ESMs and so improve the predictive skill of ESMs.

The strength of the EUCLIPSE project was the combination of detailed modeling and observation at the level of individual clouds and the evaluation and analysis of clouds in the climate system in global climate models using the latest diagnostic techniques and satellite products.

The EUREC4A project, the Field Study, was a French-German initiative in support of the World Climate Research Programme's Grand Science Challenge on Clouds, Circulation and Climate Sensitivity. EUREC4A took place in early 2020 with operations based out of Barbados.

EUREC4A aims at advancing understanding of the interplay between clouds, convection and circulation and their role in climate change: How resilient or sensitive is the shallow cumulus cloud amount to variations in the strength of convective mixing, surface turbulence and large-scale circulations? How do the radiative effects of water vapor and clouds influence shallow circulations and convection? What are the implications for the spatial organization of clouds and convection in the tropics, and for climate sensitivity?