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Two- and Three-Dimensional Cloud-Resolving Model Simulations of the Mesoscale Enhancement of Surface Heat Fluxes by Precipitating Deep Convection

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  • 1 Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
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Abstract

Two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) cloud-resolving model (CRM) simulations are conducted to quantify the enhancement of surface sensible and latent heat fluxes by tropical precipitating cloud systems for 20 days (10–30 December 1992) during the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE). The mesoscale enhancement appears to be analogous across both 2D and 3D CRMs, with the enhancement for the sensible heat flux accounting for 17% of the total flux for each model and the enhancement for the latent heat flux representing 18% and 16% of the total flux for 2D and 3D CRMs, respectively. The convection-induced gustiness is mainly responsible for the enhancement observed in each model simulation. The parameterization schemes of the mesoscale enhancement by the gustiness in terms of convective updraft, downdraft, and precipitation, respectively, are examined using each version of the CRM. The scheme utilizing the precipitation was found to yield the most desirable estimations of the mean fluxes with the smallest rms error. The results together with previous findings from other studies suggest that the mesoscale enhancement of surface heat fluxes by the precipitating deep convection is a subgrid process apparent across various CRMs and is imperative to incorporate into general circulation models (GCMs) for improved climate simulation.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Xiaoqing Wu, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011. Email: wuxq@iastate.edu

Abstract

Two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) cloud-resolving model (CRM) simulations are conducted to quantify the enhancement of surface sensible and latent heat fluxes by tropical precipitating cloud systems for 20 days (10–30 December 1992) during the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE). The mesoscale enhancement appears to be analogous across both 2D and 3D CRMs, with the enhancement for the sensible heat flux accounting for 17% of the total flux for each model and the enhancement for the latent heat flux representing 18% and 16% of the total flux for 2D and 3D CRMs, respectively. The convection-induced gustiness is mainly responsible for the enhancement observed in each model simulation. The parameterization schemes of the mesoscale enhancement by the gustiness in terms of convective updraft, downdraft, and precipitation, respectively, are examined using each version of the CRM. The scheme utilizing the precipitation was found to yield the most desirable estimations of the mean fluxes with the smallest rms error. The results together with previous findings from other studies suggest that the mesoscale enhancement of surface heat fluxes by the precipitating deep convection is a subgrid process apparent across various CRMs and is imperative to incorporate into general circulation models (GCMs) for improved climate simulation.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Xiaoqing Wu, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011. Email: wuxq@iastate.edu

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