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Caroline Muller

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CNRS Researcher Chargée de Recherche
& ENS lecturer Maître de Conférence associée à l’ENS                    
Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (LMD)
École Normale Supérieure
24 rue Lhomond
75005 Paris
France

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OVERALL RESEARCH INTERESTS

My research interests lie in the fields of geophysical fluid dynamics and climate science. I am particularly interested in the study of processes which are too small in space and time to be explicitly resolved in coarse-resolution General Circulation Models (GCMs) used for climate prediction.

Important examples that I have worked on are internal wave breaking in the ocean and cloud processes in the atmosphere. These subgrid-scale processes need to be parametrized in GCMs in order to improve current model projections of climate change.






THE HYDROLOGICAL CYCLE AND CLIMATE CHANGE

Precipitation extremes, both wet (floods) and dry (deserts), have many societal impacts. I investigate how precipitation extremes respond to warming using a cloud-resolving model (see Publications for more details).

The figure below shows a snapshot from the cloud-resolving model. The colors represent the surface temperature, and the white contours are isosurfaces of condensate amounts (liquid and ice). Understanding the response of the hydrological cycle to climate change is a major challenge, and the subject of intense research.

Snapshot from a cloud-resolving simulation (click on it for a movie)
CRM


THE ORGANIZATION OF CONVECTION IN HIGH-RESOLUTION SIMULATIONS

It is well known that convection can organize on a wide range of scales. Several studies using high-resolution cloud-resolving models point out the tendency of atmospheric convection to self-aggregate when the domain is large enough. This self-aggregated state is a spatially organized atmosphere composed of two large areas: a moist area with intense convection, and a dry area with strong radiative cooling. I used a cloud-resolving model to investigate in detail the onset of self-aggregation (see Publications for more details).

The figure below shows a snapshot from the cloud-resolving model. The small-domain run (top panel) has reached radiative convective equilibrium. The large-domain run (bottom panel) looks quite different; convection spontaneously aggregates, eventually leading to an atmospheric state with one convectively active moist region surrounded by very dry air.

Self-aggregation on large domains (click on it for a movie)
Aggregation





THE DISSIPATION OF INTERNAL TIDES AND THE OCEANIC CIRCULATION

Internal tides are internal waves generated by the interaction of tidal currents with deep-ocean topography. Their dissipation through wave breaking and concomitant three-dimensional turbulence contributes to vertical mixing in the deep ocean, and hence could play a role in the large-scale ocean circulation.

I investigate the instability and dissipation of the internal tides, and the induced abyssal mixing (see Publications for more details).

Energy flux into the internal tides
IW