tweet chat: Talk with a climate and cloud expert about the ATOMIC scientific mission

January 31, 2020

A quick google image search of the word “tropical” tends to include, at a minimum, these two things: the ocean and a sky dotted with puffy clouds.  To most, the photos conjure up peaceful thoughts of relaxing on the beach, and enjoying the tropical breezes, maybe with an umbrella drink. But all scientists on the ATOMIC scientific field campaign can see are the complex interactions between the ocean and the sky that create, maintain, and dissipate those clouds. Well, that and umbrella drinks. Hey, they are human after all.


Shallow clouds from Narval2. Photo by S. Bony

During the first two months of 2020, ATOMIC—short for Atlantic Tradewind Ocean-Atmosphere Interaction Campaign—is using planes, ships, buoys, radars, autonomous vehicles, and computer models to help unlock the mysteries of how those puffy tropical clouds form and the impact they have on local and regional climate.

Tropical clouds’ peaceful simplicity belies the intricacy of the intermingling between the ocean and air needed to create them. Unable to be seen by the human eye, there is a meticulous energy dance going on between the water and the air as huge amounts of energy and moisture are transferred from one side to the other. This dance is poorly understood, which means it’s not well represented in models of our atmosphere. ATOMIC aims to better understand this dance so that, among other things, our weather and climate models have a more realistic representation of the planet they are trying to recreate.

On Wednesday, February 5 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern, join scientist Dr. Gijs de Boer of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory for a tweet chat all about tropical clouds, the tropical ocean, and the ATOMIC mission. He’ll focus on his work launching autonomous aircraft—yes, robots!—into the skies above the Atlantic Ocean to see this ocean/atmosphere dance up close.

Dr. Gijs de Boer  is a Research Scientist at CIRES at the University of Colorado Boulder and NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory-Physical Sciences Division. His main area of research revolves around the development and deployment of innovative observing technologies to measure the Earth system. This includes unmanned aerial vehicles and surface observing systems, with an emphasis on difficult to reach locations. This work has taken him to the Arctic, tropics and areas of complex terrain to lead efforts to improve our understanding of atmospheric processes like clouds.

Join us for a Clouds Tweet chat!

  • What: Tweet chat — tweet your questions @NOAAClimate and use the hashtag #ClimateQA
  • When: February 5, 3:00 — 4:00 p.m. EST
  • Where:

Can’t make the chat? Return to this page in coming weeks; we will update this page with a selection of questions and answers from the discussion.