Travis Aerenson

About Me

My name is Travis Aerenson and I'm a Postdoctoral Scholar in Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Wyoming studying climate change and how we expect it impact droughts with Daniel McCoy. I recently completed a PhD at the University of Washington studying cloud radiative feedbacks with Roger Marchand.

My research focuses on clouds and precipiation processes and the ways we expect them to change in a warming climate. Lately I have been focused on projecting changes in moisture convergence over the United States. This includes using the NASA GISS-E3 perturbed parameter ensemble to train statistical emulators to better predict moisture convergence. During my PhD I used a combination of satellite observations and climate model simulations to diagnose the physics that causes clouds and to change in our warming climate, and how cloud changes will continue to impact future warming. Using a combination of satellite observations and model output from the COSP instrument simulator, I performed model intercomparison of projected changes of cloud attributes, and analyzed the biases in modeled clouds, and relate them to predicted cloud changes.

Before coming to UW I studied Physics at Colorado College, where I honed my love for science and the outdoors. These days when I'm not working you can probably find me playing somewhere in the mountains.

Research

Weighted Cloud Top Height observations and model projections measured by MISR (and MISR simulator).

Time of Emergence of Cloud Top Height Trends

It is predicted by both theory and models that the thermodynamic height limit of convection is set by the temperature profile. Thus as the climater warms the maximum convective height will rise in the atmosphere with the temperature profile. We use MISR observations and simulated MISR observatiomns in coupled climate models to estimate when we will be capable of detecting a trend in cloud top height of high clouds.

Related publications: Aerenson, T., Marchand, R., Chepfer, H., & Medeiros, B. (2022). When Will MISR Detect Rising High Clouds? Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 127(2), e2021JD035865. https://doi.org/10.1029/2021JD035865



Cloud Rapid Adjustmnent to Forcing

Cloud formation and attributes change as a direct result of CO2 increase (as opposed to resulting from temperature change). The cloud adjustment to forcing is an important part of the estimaton of the effective radiative forcing. Typically the cloud adjustment to forcing is found using model experiments with prescribed sea-surface temperature and sea ice. We have been testing the effectivness of adjustment calculations from coupled model simulations.

Gregory plot of Cloud Radiative Effect for an ensemble of 5-year long abrupt-4xCO2 simulations.



How do clouds respond differently to longwave and shortwave forcing changes?

It is common practice to study the effects that increasing carbon dioxide (a longwave forcing agent) has on the climate, and with the growing attention toward geoengineering schemes designed to change the amount of shortwave radiation absorbed by the earth, we have been studying the different ways that clouds respond to longwave (CO2) and shortwave (solar) forcing agents.

Related publications: Aerenson, T., Marchand, R., Zhou, C.: Cloud Feedbacks from Abrupt Solar and CO2 Forcing (in prep)
Aerenson, T., Marchand, R., Zhou, C.: Cloud Adjustment to Abrupt Solar and CO2 Forcing in Coupled Models (in prep)



Publications

Also see Google Scholar

[7] Aerenson, T., Marchand, R.: How Does Model Bias Influence Cloud Feedbacks?, (in prep).

[6] Aerenson, T., Marchand, R.: Cloud Responses to Abrupt Solar and CO2 Forcing Part I: Temperature Mediated Cloud Feedbacks, (Submitted JGR: Atmospheres).

[5] Aerenson, T., Marchand, R., Zhou, C.: Cloud Responses to Abrupt Solar and CO2 Forcing Part II: Adjustment to Forcing in Coupled Models (Submitted JGR Atmospheres).

[4] Frierson, D., Poletti A., Aerenson, T., Nikumbh, A., Carroll, R., Henshaw, W.: Atmosphere and Ocean Energy Transport in Extreme Warming Scenarios. PLoS Climate, Accepted.

[3] Aerenson, T., Tebaldi, C., Lamarque, J.F., Lawrence, D., Lipscomb, B., Long, M., Koven, C., Rosenbloom, N., Strand, G.: Abrupt Reversing of Climate Change in CESM2, (in prep).

[2] Aerenson, T., Marchand, R., Chepfer, H., & Medeiros, B. (2022). When Will MISR Detect Rising High Clouds? Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 127(2), e2021JD035865. https://doi.org/10.1029/2021JD035865

[1] Aerenson, T., Tebaldi, C., Sanderson, B., Lamarque, J.F. (2018). Changes in a suite of indicators of extreme temperature and precipitation under 1.5 and 2 degrees warming. Environmental Research Letters ERL 13 035009 https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aaafd6

Presentations

[16] Aerenson, T.: "The Relationship Between Simulated Present-Day Cloud Attributes and Cloud Feedbacks" University of Washington Department of Atmospheric Sciences Colloquium, Seattle, WA. PhD Defense

[15] Aerenson, T. R. Marchand, C. Zhou 2023: "Cloud Adjustment to Solar and CO2 Forcing in Coupled Models" CFMIP Meeting, Paris, FR. Poster

[14] Aerenson, T. R. Marchand 2023: "The Contribution of Mean-State Bias to Cloud Feedbacks in Climate Models" CFMIP Meeting, Paris, FR. Poster

[13] Aerenson, T. R. Marchand 2023: "The Contribution of Mean-State Bias to Cloud Feedbacks in Climate Models" University of Wyoming Department of Atmospheric Science Seminar, Laramie, WY. Invited Seminar

[12] Aerenson, T. R. Marchand 2023: "Using ISCCP and MISR Satellite Simulators to Understand Cloud Feedbacks" NASA GSFC CPC Seminar, Greenbelt, MD. Virtual Seminar

[11] Aerenson, T., R. Marchand, C. Zhou 2022: “Cloud Response to Abrupt Changes in Solar Forcing and CO2 Concentrations” AGU Fall Meeting: Advances in Solar Radiation Modification Research, Chicago, IL. Poster

[10] Aerenson, T., R. Marchand, C. Zhou 2022: “Cloud Response to Abrupt Changes in Solar Forcing and CO2 Concentration” University of Washington Department of Atmospheric Sciences Seminar on Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry, Seattle, WA. Seminar

[9] Aerenson, T., R. Marchand 2022: “Cloud Response to Abrupt Changes in Solar Forcing and CO2 Concentrations” CFMIP Meeting: Cloud Processes and Radiative Feedbacks, Seattle, WA. Oral

[8] Aerenson, T. 2021: “Cloud Rapid Adjustments and Feedbacks to Abrupt Changes in Solar and CO2 Induced Forcings” AGU Fall Meeting: Advances in Climate Engineering Research. Virtual Poster

[7] Aerenson, T., R. Marchand 2021: “Cloud Rapid Adjustments and Feedbacks to Abrupt Changes in Solar and CO2 Induced Forcing” CFMIP Meeting. Virtual Poster

[6] Aerenson, T. 2021: “When Will MISR Detect Rising High Clouds?” University of Washington Department of Atmospheric Sciences Physics and Chemistry Seminar. Virtual Seminar

[5] Aerenson, T., R. Marchand 2021: “Time of Emergence: When Will We See High Clouds Get Higher?” AMS Annual Meeting. Remote oral presentation and discussion session

[4] Aerenson, T., R. Marchand, 2020: “Time of Emergence: When do Climate Models Predict Rising Cloud-Top-Height (CTH) Should be Detected by MISR?” CFMIP Meeting on Clouds, Precipitation, and Climate Sensitivity. Remote submitted slide and discussion session

[3] Aerenson, T., R. Marchand, 2020: “When will we see high clouds get higher?” MISR Science Team Meeting, Pasadena, CA. Oral

[2] Aerenson, T., 2019: “Climate Models and Climate Change Reversibilitiy” Colorado College Physics Department Senior Seminar Series, Colorado Springs, CO. Seminar

[1] Aerenson, T.., C. Tebaldi, B. Sanderson, J.F. Lamarque, 2017: “Climate Extremes in Low Warming Scenarios” NCAR CGD Integrated Assessment Modelling Weekly Meeting, Boulder, CO. Oral

CV

  • 2019-2023 Graduate Student, Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington
  • 2015-2019 Bachelor of Arts in Physics, Colorado College

Download CV here.

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