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Our planet’s cloudiness has been heretofore understood as being controlled by the slowly varying, large scale, atmospheric circulation known as the Hadley cell. In this video, CLAUDIA STEPHAN argues that this model is overly simplistic. Bringing recent measurements taken over the Atlantic into dialogue with observational data gathered in Darwin on gravity waves, Stephan suggests that relationships between clouds and atmospheric waves can provide important insight into, and ultimately improve, weather and climate modeling.


Awarded a Minerva Fast Track Position in 2019, Dr. Claudia Stephan leads the Cloud Wave Coupling Group at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg. Having completed her PhD at the University of Colorado, Stephan has also worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Reading. Her main research interests include convection, atmospheric gravity waves and numerical modeling. Stephan is the Principal Investigator of the Radiosonde network of the EUREC4A field study.


Max Planck Society

"The Max Planck Society is Germany's most successful research organization. Since its establishment in 1948, no fewer than 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists, putting it on a par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide. The more than 15,000 publications each year in internationally renowned scientific journals are proof of the outstanding research work conducted at Max Planck Institutes – and many of those articles are among the most-cited publications in the relevant field." ( Source )
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Original publication

Gravity Wave Influences on Mesoscale Divergence: An Observational Case Study

Stephan Claudia C., Lane Todd and Jacob Christian
Geophysical Research Letters
Published in 2020

Reading recommendations

Measuring Area-Averaged Vertical Motions with Dropsondes

Stevens Bjorn and Bony Sandrine
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Published in 2019

EUREC4A: A Field Campaign to Elucidate the Couplings Between Clouds, Convection and Circulation

others, Stevens Bjorn, Bony Sandrine, Ament Felix, Bigorre Sebastien, Chazette Patrick, Crewell Susanne, Delanoë Julien, Emanuel Kerry, Farrell David and Flamant Cyrille
Surveys in Geophysics
Published in 2017

Clouds, Circulation and Climate Sensitivity

Stevens Bjorn, Bony Sandrine, Frierson Dargan M.W., Jakob Christian, Kageyama Masa, Pincus Robert, Shepherd Theodore G., Sherwood Steven C., Siebesma A. Pier, Sobel Adam H., Watanabe Masahiro and Webb Mark J.
Nature Geoscience
Published in 2015