Abstract

Simulated data from the UCLA cumulus ensemble model are used to investigate the quasi-universal validity of closure assumptions used in existing cumulus parameterizations. A closure assumption is quasi-universally valid if it is sensitive neither to convective cloud regimes nor to horizontal resolutions of large-scale/mesoscale models. The dependency of three types of closure assumptions, as classified by Arakawa and Chen, on the horizontal resolution is addressed in this study. Type I is the constraint on the coupling of the time tendencies of large-scale temperature and water vapor mixing ratio. Type II is the constraint on the coupling of cumulus heating and cumulus drying. Type III is a direct constraint on the intensity of a cumulus ensemble.

The macroscopic behavior of simulated cumulus convection is first compared with the observed behavior in view of Type I and Type II closure assumptions using “quick-look” and canonical correlation analyses. It is found that they are statistically similar to each other. The three types of closure assumptions are further examined with simulated data averaged over selected subdomain sizes ranging from 64 to 512 km. It is found that the dependency of Type I and Type II closure assumptions on the horizontal resolution is very weak and that Type III closure assumption is somewhat dependent upon the horizontal resolution. The influences of convective and mesoscale processes on the closure assumptions are also addressed by comparing the structures of canonical components with the corresponding vertical profiles in the convective and stratiform regions of cumulus ensembles analyzed directly from simulated data. The implication of these results for cumulus parameterization is discussed.

This content is only available as a PDF.