UCLA research team receives grant to reduce uncertainty in climate sensitivity

August 31, 2020


A research team led by Hui Su in UCLA’s Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering (JIFRESSE) and David Neelin in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) has been awarded a three-year grant in the amount of $490,900 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Program Office to advance understanding of cloud processes and reduce uncertainty in climate model projections of temperature increase in response to rising greenhouse gases.

The equilibrium global-mean surface temperature change in response to a doubling of CO2, so-called climate sensitivity, has a large spread among climate models. Reducing the uncertainty in climate sensitivity is of paramount importance for policy-making related to climate change. Cloud response to surface warming is a major contributor to the uncertainty in climate sensitivity estimates. This NOAA grant supports the researchers’ efforts to assess climate model fidelity in representing cloud processes, define process-oriented metrics and diagnostics for climate model evaluations, and use observations to constrain climate sensitivity. The UCLA team will join the Climate Sensitivity Task Force as part of the NOAA’s Modeling, Analysis, Predictions and Projections (MAPP) Program to improve climate models and reduce the uncertainty of climate projections.

Su is the Assistant Director of JIFRESSE and Adjunct Professor of the AOS Department. Neelin is a Distinguished Professor of the AOS Department. The institute, known as JIFRESSE, is a partnership between UCLA and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It combines UCLA’s strength in climate modeling and JPL’s expertise in remote sensing to facilitate research collaborations that accelerate climate model improvements and enable accurate predictions of global climate change and its effects on regional climates and environments.