Evaluation of the Multiscale Modeling Framework Using Data from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program

Mikhail Ovtchinnikov Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington

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Thomas Ackerman Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington

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Roger Marchand Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington

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Marat Khairoutdinov Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Abstract

In a recently developed approach to climate modeling, called the multiscale modeling framework (MMF), a two-dimensional cloud-resolving model (CRM) is embedded into each grid column of the Community Atmospheric Model (CAM), replacing traditional cloud and radiation parameterizations. This study presents an evaluation of the MMF through a comparison of its output with the output from the CAM and with data from two observational sites operated by the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program, one at the Southern Great Plains (SGP) in Oklahoma and one at the island of Nauru in the tropical western Pacific (TWP) region.

Two sets of one-year-long simulations are considered: one using climatological sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and another using 1999 SST. Each set includes a run with the MMF as well as a CAM run with traditional or standard cloud and radiation treatments. Time series of cloud fraction, precipitation intensity, and downwelling solar radiation flux at the surface are analyzed. For the TWP site, the distributions of these variables from the MMF run are shown to be more consistent with observation than those from the CAM run. This change is attributed to the improved representation of convective clouds in the MMF compared to the conventional climate model. For the SGP, the MMF shows little to no improvement in predicting the same quantities. Possible causes of this lack of improvement are discussed.

Corresponding author address: Mikhail Ovtchinnikov, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, P.O. Box 999, Richland, WA 99352. Email: mikhail@pnl.gov

Abstract

In a recently developed approach to climate modeling, called the multiscale modeling framework (MMF), a two-dimensional cloud-resolving model (CRM) is embedded into each grid column of the Community Atmospheric Model (CAM), replacing traditional cloud and radiation parameterizations. This study presents an evaluation of the MMF through a comparison of its output with the output from the CAM and with data from two observational sites operated by the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program, one at the Southern Great Plains (SGP) in Oklahoma and one at the island of Nauru in the tropical western Pacific (TWP) region.

Two sets of one-year-long simulations are considered: one using climatological sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and another using 1999 SST. Each set includes a run with the MMF as well as a CAM run with traditional or standard cloud and radiation treatments. Time series of cloud fraction, precipitation intensity, and downwelling solar radiation flux at the surface are analyzed. For the TWP site, the distributions of these variables from the MMF run are shown to be more consistent with observation than those from the CAM run. This change is attributed to the improved representation of convective clouds in the MMF compared to the conventional climate model. For the SGP, the MMF shows little to no improvement in predicting the same quantities. Possible causes of this lack of improvement are discussed.

Corresponding author address: Mikhail Ovtchinnikov, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, P.O. Box 999, Richland, WA 99352. Email: mikhail@pnl.gov

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