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Robert D. Cess

cessDistinguished Professor Emeritus

Ph.D., 1959, University of Pittsburgh

Atmospheric sciences and climate.



Research Interests

My research concentrates on two areas. One concerns theoretical and modeling studies of climate feedback mechanisms that can either amplify or diminish global climate change. A quantitative understanding of such mechanisms is a prerequisite to being able to project climate change caused by anthropogenic factors such as increasing greenhouse gases.

The second research area augments the first and concerns the acquisition and interpretation of both surface and satellite radiometric data. Thus, I have been involved with NASA’s Earth Radiation Budget Experiment; their subsequent Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System, which is part of the Earth Observing System; and DOE’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurements Program. The focus of these observational programs is to obtain a better understanding of how clouds impact the present climate, so as to improve our capability of predicting how clouds impact climate change.

Selected Publications

G. L. Potter and R. D. Cess, Testing the impact of clouds on the radiation budgets of 19 atmospheric general circulation models, doi:10.1029/2003JD004018, 2004

P. H. Wang, P. Minnis, B. A. Wielicki, T. Wong, R. D. Cess, M. H. Zhang, L. B. Vann and G. S. Kent, Characteristics of the 1997/1998 El Niño cloud distributions from SAGE II observations, J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos., 108, doi:10.1029/200JD00251, 2003.

F.PJ. Valero, S. K. Pope, B. C. Bush, Q. Nguyen, D. Marsden, R. D. Cess, A. S. Simpson-Leitner, A. Bucholtz and Petra Udelhofen, Absorption of solar radiation by the clear and cloudy atmosphere during the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Enhanced Shortwave Experiments (ARESE) I and II: Observations and Models, J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos., 108, doi:10.1029/2001DJ001384, 2003.

R. D. Cess and P. M. Udelhofen, Climate change during 1985-1999: Cloud interactions determined from satellite measurements,Geophy. Research Letters, 30, doi:10.1029/2002GL016128, 2003.

R. D. Cess, M. H. Zhang, P. H. Wang and B. W. Wielicki, Cloud structure anomalies over the tropical Pacific during the 1997/98 El Niño, Geophy. Research Letters, 28, pp. 4547-4550, 2001.

P. M. Udelhofen and R. D. Cess, Cloud cover variations over the United States: An influence of cosmic rays or solar variability,   J. of Geophys. Res., 28, 2617-2620, 2001.

Y. Zhou and R. D. Cess, Algorithm-development strategies for retrieving the downwelling longwave flux at the Earth’s surface, (J. of Geophys. Res., 106, 12,477-12,488, 2001.

R. D. Cess, M. Zhang, B. A. Wielicki, D. F. Young, X-L. Zhou and Y. Nikitenko,, The Influence of the 1998 El Niño upon Cloud-Radiative Forcing over the Pacific Warm Pool,  J. Climate, 14, 2129-2137, 2001. (in press), 2000.

Y. P. Zhou and R. D. Cess, Validation of longwave atmospheric radiation models using Atmospheric Radiation Measurements (ARM) data, J. of Geophys. Res., 105, 29,703-29,716, 2000.

R. D. Cess, T. Qian and M. Sun, Consistency tests applied to the measurement of total, direct and diffuse shortwave radiation at the surface, J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos., 105, pp. 54,881-24,887, 2000.

Waliser, D. E., Weller, R. A. and Cess, R. D., “Comparisons between buoy-observed, satellite-derived, and modeled surface shortwave flux over the subtropical North Atlantic during the Subduction Experiment”, J. of Geophys. Res.-Atmos., 104, 31301-31320, 1999.

Yu, R. C., Zhang, M. H. and Cess, R. D., “Analysis of the atmospheric energy budget: A consistency study of available data sets”, J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos., 104, pp. 9655-9661, 1999.

Croke, M. S., Cess, R. D., and Hameed, S., “Regional cloud cover change associated with global climate change: Case studies for three regions of the United States”, J. Climate, 12, pp. 2128-2134, 1999.

Cess, R. D., Zhang, M. H., Valero, F. P. J., Pope, S. K., Bucholtz, A., Bush, B., Zender, C. S. and Vitko, J., “Absorption of solar radiation by the cloudy atmosphere: Further interpretations of collocated aircraft measurements”, JGR-Atmospheres, 104, pp. 2059-2066, 1999.

Jing, X. D. and Cess, R. D., “Comparison of atmospheric clear-sky shortwave radiation models to collocated satellite and surface measurements in Canada”, J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos., 103, 28817-28824, 1998.

Valero, F. P. J., Cess, R. D., Zhang, M. H., Pope, S. K., Bucholtz, A., Bush, B., and Vitko, J., “Absorption of solar radiation by the cloudy atmosphere: Intgerpretations of collocated aircraft measurements”, J. of Geophys. Res.-Atmos., 102, 29917-29927, 1997.

Zhang, M. H., Cess, R. D. and Jing, X. D., “Concerning the interpretation of enhanced cloud shortwave absorption using monthly-mean earth radiation budget experiment/global energy balance archive measurements”, J. of Geophys. Res.-Atmos., 102, 25899-25905, 1997.

Cess, R. D., Zhang, M. H., Potter, G. L., Alekseev, V., Barker, H. W., Bony, S., Colman, R. A., Dazlich, D. A., DelGenio, A. D. Deque, M., Dix, M. R., Dymnikov, V., Esch, M. Fowler, L. D., Fraser, J. R., Galin, V., Gates, W. L., Hack, J. J., Ingram, W. J., Kiehl, J. T., Kim, Y., LeTreut, H., Liang, X. Z., McAvaney, B. J., Meleshko, V. P., Morcrette, J. J., Randall, D. A., Roeckner, E., Schlesinger, M. E., Sporyshev, P. V., Taylor, K. E., Timbal, B., Volodin, E. M., Wang, W., Wang, W. C. and Wetherald, R. T., “Comparison of the seasonal change in cloud-radiative forcing from atmospheric general circulation models and satellite observations”, J. of Geophys. Res., 102, 16593-16603, 1997.

Cess, R.D., M.H. Zhang, W. J. Ingram, G.L. Potter, V. Alekseev, H.W. Barker, E. Cohen-Solal, R.A. Colman, D.A. Dazlich, A.D. Del Genio, M.R. Dix, V. Dyminkov, M. Esch, L.D. Fowler, J.R. Fraser, V. Galin, W.L. Gates, J.J. Hack, J.T. Kiehl, H. Le Treut, K. K.-W. Lo, B.J. McAvaney, V.P. Meleshko, J.-J. Morcrette, D.A. Randall, E. Roeckner, J.-F. Royer, M.E. Schlesinger, P.V. Sporyshev, B. Timbal, E.M. Volodin, K.E. Taylor, W. Wang and R.T. Wetherald. “Cloud feedback in atmospheric general circulation models: An update”, J. of Geophys. Res. 101: 12,791-12,794; 1996.

Zhang, M.H., R.D. Cess and S.C. Xie, “Relationship between Cloud Radiative Forcing and Sea Surface Temperatures over the Entire Tropical Oceans”, J. Climate 9: 1374-1384; 1996.

Cess, R.D., M. H. Zhang, Y. Zhou, X. Jing and V. Dvortsov, Absorption of solar radiation by clouds: Interpretations of satellite, surface, and aircraft measurements”, J. Geophys. Res. 101: 23,999-23,309; 1996.

Cess, R.D., M. H. Zhang, P. Minnis, L. Corsetti, E. G. Dutton, B. W. Forgan, D. P. Garber, W. L. Gates, J. J. Hack, E. F. Harrison, X. Jing, J. T. Kiehl, C. N. Long, J.-J. Morcrette, G. L. Potter, V. Ramanathan, B. Subasilar, C. H. Whitlock, D. F. Young and Y. Zhou, “Absorption of Solar Radiation by Clouds: Observations Versus Models”, Science 267:496-499; 1995.

Chen, Minghang, R.D. Cess and Ming-Hua Zhang , “Effects of longwave cloud radiative forcing anomalies on the atmospheric response to equatorial Pacific sea surface temperature anomalies”, J. Geophys. Res. 100:13,791-13,810; 1995.

Ramanathan, V., B. Subasilar, G.J. Zhang, W. Conant, R.D. Cess, J. T. Kiehl, H. Grassi and L. Shi , “Warm Pool Heat Budget and Shortwave Cloud Forcing: A Missing Physics?”, Science 267:499-503; 1995.

Nemesure, S., R.D. Cess, E. G. Dutton, J.J. DeLuisi, Z. Li and H.G. Leighton, “Impact of Clouds on the Shortwave Radiation Budget of the Surface-Atmosphere System for Snow-Covered Surfaces”, J. Climate 7:579-585; 1994.

Zhang, M.H., J.J. Hack, J.T. Kiehl and R.D. Cess, “Diagnostic Study of Climate Feedback Processes in Atmospheric General Circulation Models:”, Geophys. Res. 99:5525-5537; 1994.

Zhang, M.H., M.H., R.D. Cess, T.Y. Kwon and M.H. Chen, “Approaches to Compare Clear-Sky Radiative Fluxes from GCMs with ERBE Data”, J. Geophys. Res. 99:5515-5523; 1994.


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