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Toward Cloud Resolving Modeling of Large-Scale Tropical Circulations: A Simple Cloud Microphysics Parameterization

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  • 1 National Center for Atmospheric Research,* Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

This paper discusses cloud microphysical processes essential for the large-scale tropical circulations and the tropical climate, as well as the strategy to include them in large-scale models that resolve cloud dynamics. The emphasis is on the ice microphysics, which traditional cloud models consider in a fairly complex manner and where a simplified approach is desirable. An extension of the classical warm rain bulk parameterization is presented. The proposed scheme retains simplicity of the warm rain parameterization (e.g., only two classes of condensed water are considered) but introduces two important modifications for temperatures well below freezing:1) the saturation conditions are prescribed based on saturation with respect to ice, not water; and 2) growth characteristics and terminal velocities of precipitation particles are representative for ice particles, not raindrops. Numerical tests suggest that, despite its simplicity, the parameterization is able to capture essential aspects of the cloud microphysics important for the interaction between convection and the large-scale environment. As an example of the application of this parameterization, preliminary results of the two-dimensional cloud-resolving simulation of a Walker-like circulation are presented.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Wojciech W. Grabowski, NCAR, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000.

Email: grabow@ncar.ucar.edu

Abstract

This paper discusses cloud microphysical processes essential for the large-scale tropical circulations and the tropical climate, as well as the strategy to include them in large-scale models that resolve cloud dynamics. The emphasis is on the ice microphysics, which traditional cloud models consider in a fairly complex manner and where a simplified approach is desirable. An extension of the classical warm rain bulk parameterization is presented. The proposed scheme retains simplicity of the warm rain parameterization (e.g., only two classes of condensed water are considered) but introduces two important modifications for temperatures well below freezing:1) the saturation conditions are prescribed based on saturation with respect to ice, not water; and 2) growth characteristics and terminal velocities of precipitation particles are representative for ice particles, not raindrops. Numerical tests suggest that, despite its simplicity, the parameterization is able to capture essential aspects of the cloud microphysics important for the interaction between convection and the large-scale environment. As an example of the application of this parameterization, preliminary results of the two-dimensional cloud-resolving simulation of a Walker-like circulation are presented.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Wojciech W. Grabowski, NCAR, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000.

Email: grabow@ncar.ucar.edu

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