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Estimating the Ice Crystal Enhancement Factor in the Tropics

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  • 1 Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology Center, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland
  • | 2 Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • | 3 Atmospheric Sciences Division, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California
  • | 4 Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Lanham, Maryland
  • | 5 School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York
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Abstract

The ice crystal enhancement (IE) factor, defined as the ratio of the ice crystal to ice nuclei (IN) number concentrations for any particular cloud condition, is needed to quantify the contribution of changes in IN to global warming. However, the ensemble characteristics of IE are still unclear. In this paper, a representation of the IE factor is incorporated into a three-ice-category microphysical scheme for use in long-term cloud-resolving model (CRM) simulations. Model results are compared with remote sensing observations, which suggest that, absent a physically based consideration of how IE comes about, the IE factor in tropical clouds is about 103 times larger than that in midlatitudinal ones. This significant difference in IE between the tropics and middle latitudes is consistent with the observation of stronger entrainment and detrainment in the tropics. In addition, the difference also suggests that cloud microphysical parameterizations depend on spatial resolution (or subgrid turbulence parameterizations within CRMs).

Corresponding author address: Dr. Xiping Zeng, C423, Bldg 33, Mail Code 613.1, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771. E-mail: xiping.zeng@nasa.gov

Abstract

The ice crystal enhancement (IE) factor, defined as the ratio of the ice crystal to ice nuclei (IN) number concentrations for any particular cloud condition, is needed to quantify the contribution of changes in IN to global warming. However, the ensemble characteristics of IE are still unclear. In this paper, a representation of the IE factor is incorporated into a three-ice-category microphysical scheme for use in long-term cloud-resolving model (CRM) simulations. Model results are compared with remote sensing observations, which suggest that, absent a physically based consideration of how IE comes about, the IE factor in tropical clouds is about 103 times larger than that in midlatitudinal ones. This significant difference in IE between the tropics and middle latitudes is consistent with the observation of stronger entrainment and detrainment in the tropics. In addition, the difference also suggests that cloud microphysical parameterizations depend on spatial resolution (or subgrid turbulence parameterizations within CRMs).

Corresponding author address: Dr. Xiping Zeng, C423, Bldg 33, Mail Code 613.1, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771. E-mail: xiping.zeng@nasa.gov
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