TWP Science

New VSAT dish installed in the Tropical Western Pacific.
New VSAT dish installed in the Tropical Western Pacific.

The following are the basic science goals of the TWP component of the ARM Climate Research Facility:

  • Determine the magnitude of the surface radiation budget terms and determine their spatial and temporal variability.
  • Identify bulk and optical properties of clouds in the TWP and how these properties affect the radiation budget.
  • Understand the linkages among sea surface temperature, ocean-atmosphere coupling, surface radiation budget, and tropical convection.

These goals represent a sequence of increasing complexity of knowledge, as well as increasing complexity of measurement. The first is fundamental. We have relatively incomplete knowledge of the surface radiation budget in the TWP, particularly over periods of time longer than a month or a few months. Similarly, high-resolution measurements of bulk cloud properties in the TWP have only been made for short periods of time during campaigns or research vessel cruises. Further, data sets to establish the effect of clouds on the radiation budget do not exist. The third goal seeks to understand the processes in the TWP that connect surface fluxes, sea surface temperature, and convection. These connections are at the heart of meteorology in the TWP and must be well understood for both short-range and long-range climate modeling. The fourth goal represents the linkage between cloud systems and the larger circulation patterns of the region. In addition, it encapsulates cloud feedback processes as they impact the surface radiation budget and sea surface temperature.