EGU22-5231, updated on 27 Mar 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The role of baroclinic activity in shaping Earth's albedo in present and future climates

Or Hadas1, Joaquin Blanco2, George Datseris3, Sandrine Bony4, Bjorn Stevens3, Rodrigo Caballero2, and Yohai Kaspi1
Or Hadas et al.
  • 1Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences,Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel (
  • 2Department of Meteorology and Bert Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 3Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
  • 4LMD/IPSL, CNRS, Sorbonne University, Paris, France
Atmospheric albedo is one of the most influential properties of Earth's climate. Specifically, the midlatitude planetary albedo plays a vital role in shaping the Earth's albedo. Although, there is no one theory to connect midlatitude atmospheric albedo to the midlatitude climate. This study investigates the connection between baroclinic activity, which dominates the midlatitude climate, and cloud cover. We show that EKE and atmospheric albedo are highly correlated on the climatological level. Then, we show that, from a Lagrangian perspective, the positive correlation translates into a high correlation between cyclone and anticyclone strength and cloud cover at all levels. Observing the strength-cloud cover relation across various systems strengths, we see that this coupling is robust and saturates for intense cyclones. Using these insights, we reflect on two aspects of the Earth radiation budget: the Earth hemispheric symmetry in planetary albedo and future changes in Earth atmospheric albedo. Observing the relationship between the storms, mean cloudiness, strength, and spatial distribution, we find that the difference in eddy population between hemispheres can explain the difference in cloud-cover, which counter-balance the higher surface albedo at the NH. Finally, we use the relation between baroclinic activity and midlatitude cloudiness to understand the projected change in cloud patterns in a warmer climate. We show a high correlation between climatological baroclinic activity response and cloud response. We also suggest that the discrepancy between baroclinic activity and clouds response over the SH is due to the saturating nature of the strength-cloudiness curve.

How to cite: Hadas, O., Blanco, J., Datseris, G., Bony, S., Stevens, B., Caballero, R., and Kaspi, Y.: The role of baroclinic activity in shaping Earth's albedo in present and future climates, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-5231,, 2022.

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