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Aaron D. Kennedy
,
Xiquan Dong
,
Baike Xi
,
Patrick Minnis
,
Anthony D. Del Genio
,
Audrey B. Wolf
, and
Mandana M. Khaiyer

Abstract

Three years of surface and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) data from the Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) site are used to evaluate the NASA GISS Single Column Model (SCM) simulated clouds from January 1999 to December 2001. The GOES-derived total cloud fractions for both 0.5° and 2.5° grid boxes are in excellent agreement with surface observations, suggesting that ARM point observations can represent large areal observations. Low (<2 km), middle (2–6 km), and high (>6 km) levels of cloud fractions, however, have negative biases as compared to the ARM results due to multilayer cloud scenes that can either mask lower cloud layers or cause misidentifications of cloud tops. Compared to the ARM observations, the SCM simulated most midlevel clouds, overestimated low clouds (4%), and underestimated total and high clouds by 7% and 15%, respectively. To examine the dependence of the modeled high and low clouds on the large-scale synoptic patterns, variables such as relative humidity (RH) and vertical pressure velocity (omega) from North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) data are included. The successfully modeled and missed high clouds are primarily associated with a trough and ridge upstream of the ARM SGP, respectively. The PDFs of observed high and low occurrence as a function of RH reveal that high clouds have a Gaussian-like distribution with mode RH values of ∼40%–50%, whereas low clouds have a gammalike distribution with the highest cloud probability occurring at RH ∼75%–85%. The PDFs of modeled low clouds are similar to those observed; however, for high clouds the PDFs are shifted toward higher values of RH. This results in a negative bias for the modeled high clouds because many of the observed clouds occur at RH values below the SCM-specified stratiform parameterization threshold RH of 60%. Despite many similarities between PDFs derived from the NARR and ARM forcing datasets for RH and omega, differences do exist. This warrants further investigation of the forcing and reanalysis datasets.

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Daehyun Kim
,
Adam H. Sobel
,
Anthony D. Del Genio
,
Yonghua Chen
,
Suzana J. Camargo
,
Mao-Sung Yao
,
Maxwell Kelley
, and
Larissa Nazarenko

Abstract

The tropical subseasonal variability simulated by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies general circulation model, Model E2, is examined. Several versions of Model E2 were developed with changes to the convective parameterization in order to improve the simulation of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO). When the convective scheme is modified to have a greater fractional entrainment rate, Model E2 is able to simulate MJO-like disturbances with proper spatial and temporal scales. Increasing the rate of rain reevaporation has additional positive impacts on the simulated MJO. The improvement in MJO simulation comes at the cost of increased biases in the mean state, consistent in structure and amplitude with those found in other GCMs when tuned to have a stronger MJO. By reinitializing a relatively poor-MJO version with restart files from a relatively better-MJO version, a series of 30-day integrations is constructed to examine the impacts of the parameterization changes on the organization of tropical convection. The poor-MJO version with smaller entrainment rate has a tendency to allow convection to be activated over a broader area and to reduce the contrast between dry and wet regimes so that tropical convection becomes less organized. Besides the MJO, the number of tropical-cyclone-like vortices simulated by the model is also affected by changes in the convection scheme. The model simulates a smaller number of such storms globally with a larger entrainment rate, while the number increases significantly with a greater rain reevaporation rate.

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Hua Song
,
Wuyin Lin
,
Yanluan Lin
,
Audrey B. Wolf
,
Leo J. Donner
,
Anthony D. Del Genio
,
Roel Neggers
,
Satoshi Endo
, and
Yangang Liu

Abstract

This study evaluates the performances of seven single-column models (SCMs) by comparing simulated cloud fraction with observations at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) site from January 1999 to December 2001. Compared with the 3-yr mean observational cloud fraction, the ECMWF SCM underestimates cloud fraction at all levels and the GISS SCM underestimates cloud fraction at levels below 200 hPa. The two GFDL SCMs underestimate lower-to-middle level cloud fraction but overestimate upper-level cloud fraction. The three Community Atmosphere Model (CAM) SCMs overestimate upper-level cloud fraction and produce lower-level cloud fraction similar to the observations but as a result of compensating overproduction of convective cloud fraction and underproduction of stratiform cloud fraction. Besides, the CAM3 and CAM5 SCMs both overestimate midlevel cloud fraction, whereas the CAM4 SCM underestimates. The frequency and partitioning analyses show a large discrepancy among the seven SCMs: Contributions of nonstratiform processes to cloud fraction production are mainly in upper-level cloudy events over the cloud cover range 10%–80% in SCMs with prognostic cloud fraction schemes and in lower-level cloudy events over the cloud cover range 15%–50% in SCMs with diagnostic cloud fraction schemes. Further analysis reveals different relationships between cloud fraction and relative humidity (RH) in the models and observations. The underestimation of lower-level cloud fraction in most SCMs is mainly due to the larger threshold RH used in models. The overestimation of upper-level cloud fraction in the three CAM SCMs and two GFDL SCMs is primarily due to the overestimation of RH and larger mean cloud fraction of cloudy events plus more occurrences of RH around 40%–80%, respectively.

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Hua Song
,
Wuyin Lin
,
Yanluan Lin
,
Audrey B. Wolf
,
Roel Neggers
,
Leo J. Donner
,
Anthony D. Del Genio
, and
Yangang Liu

Abstract

This study evaluates the performances of seven single-column models (SCMs) by comparing simulated surface precipitation with observations at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program Southern Great Plains (SGP) site from January 1999 to December 2001. Results show that although most SCMs can reproduce the observed precipitation reasonably well, there are significant and interesting differences in their details. In the cold season, the model–observation differences in the frequency and mean intensity of rain events tend to compensate each other for most SCMs. In the warm season, most SCMs produce more rain events in daytime than in nighttime, whereas the observations have more rain events in nighttime. The mean intensities of rain events in these SCMs are much stronger in daytime, but weaker in nighttime, than the observations. The higher frequency of rain events during warm-season daytime in most SCMs is related to the fact that most SCMs produce a spurious precipitation peak around the regime of weak vertical motions but rich in moisture content. The models also show distinct biases between nighttime and daytime in simulating significant rain events. In nighttime, all the SCMs have a lower frequency of moderate-to-strong rain events than the observations for both seasons. In daytime, most SCMs have a higher frequency of moderate-to-strong rain events than the observations, especially in the warm season. Further analysis reveals distinct meteorological backgrounds for large underestimation and overestimation events. The former occur in the strong ascending regimes with negative low-level horizontal heat and moisture advection, whereas the latter occur in the weak or moderate ascending regimes with positive low-level horizontal heat and moisture advection.

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Anthony D. Del Genio
,
Jingbo Wu
,
Audrey B. Wolf
,
Yonghua Chen
,
Mao-Sung Yao
, and
Daehyun Kim

Abstract

Two recent activities offer an opportunity to test general circulation model (GCM) convection and its interaction with large-scale dynamics for observed Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) events. This study evaluates the sensitivity of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) GCM to entrainment, rain evaporation, downdrafts, and cold pools. Single Column Model versions that restrict weakly entraining convection produce the most realistic dependence of convection depth on column water vapor (CWV) during the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement MJO Investigation Experiment at Gan Island. Differences among models are primarily at intermediate CWV where the transition from shallow to deeper convection occurs. GCM 20-day hindcasts during the Year of Tropical Convection that best capture the shallow–deep transition also produce strong MJOs, with significant predictability compared to Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission data. The dry anomaly east of the disturbance on hindcast day 1 is a good predictor of MJO onset and evolution. Initial CWV there is near the shallow–deep transition point, implicating premature onset of deep convection as a predictor of a poor MJO simulation. Convection weakly moistens the dry region in good MJO simulations in the first week; weakening of large-scale subsidence over this time may also affect MJO onset. Longwave radiation anomalies are weakest in the worst model version, consistent with previous analyses of cloud/moisture greenhouse enhancement as the primary MJO energy source. The authors’ results suggest that both cloud-/moisture-radiative interactions and convection–moisture sensitivity are required to produce a successful MJO simulation.

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Ryan E. Stanfield
,
Xiquan Dong
,
Baike Xi
,
Aaron Kennedy
,
Anthony D. Del Genio
,
Patrick Minnis
, and
Jonathan H. Jiang

Abstract

Although many improvements have been made in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5), clouds remain a significant source of uncertainty in general circulation models (GCMs) because their structural and optical properties are strongly dependent upon interactions between aerosol/cloud microphysics and dynamics that are unresolved in such models. Recent changes to the planetary boundary layer (PBL) turbulence and moist convection parameterizations in the NASA GISS Model E2 atmospheric GCM (post-CMIP5, hereafter P5) have improved cloud simulations significantly compared to its CMIP5 (hereafter C5) predecessor. A study has been performed to evaluate these changes between the P5 and C5 versions of the GCM, both of which used prescribed sea surface temperatures. P5 and C5 simulated cloud fraction (CF), liquid water path (LWP), ice water path (IWP), cloud water path (CWP), precipitable water vapor (PWV), and relative humidity (RH) have been compared to multiple satellite observations including the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System–Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (CERES-MODIS, hereafter CM), CloudSatCloud–Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO; hereafter CC), Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), and Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for Earth Observing System (AMSR-E). Although some improvements are observed in the P5 simulation on a global scale, large improvements have been found over the southern midlatitudes (SMLs), where correlations increased and both bias and root-mean-square error (RMSE) significantly decreased, in relation to the previous C5 simulation, when compared to observations. Changes to the PBL scheme have resulted in improved total column CFs, particularly over the SMLs where marine boundary layer (MBL) CFs have increased by nearly 20% relative to the previous C5 simulation. Globally, the P5 simulated CWPs are 25 g m−2 lower than the previous C5 results. The P5 version of the GCM simulates PWV and RH higher than its C5 counterpart and agrees well with the AMSR-E and AIRS observations. The moister atmospheric conditions simulated by P5 are consistent with the CF comparison and provide a strong support for the increase in MBL clouds over the SMLs. Over the tropics, the P5 version of the GCM simulated total column CFs and CWPs are slightly lower than the previous C5 results, primarily as a result of the shallower tropical boundary layer in P5 relative to C5 in regions outside the marine stratocumulus decks.

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Ryan E. Stanfield
,
Xiquan Dong
,
Baike Xi
,
Anthony D. Del Genio
,
Patrick Minnis
,
David Doelling
, and
Norman Loeb

Abstract

In Part I of this study, the NASA GISS Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) and post-CMIP5 (herein called C5 and P5, respectively) simulated cloud properties were assessed utilizing multiple satellite observations, with a particular focus on the southern midlatitudes (SMLs). This study applies the knowledge gained from Part I of this series to evaluate the modeled TOA radiation budgets and cloud radiative effects (CREs) globally using CERES EBAF (CE) satellite observations and the impact of regional cloud properties and water vapor on the TOA radiation budgets. Comparisons revealed that the P5- and C5-simulated global means of clear-sky and all-sky outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) match well with CE observations, while biases are observed regionally. Negative biases are found in both P5- and C5-simulated clear-sky OLR. P5-simulated all-sky albedo slightly increased over the SMLs due to the increase in low-level cloud fraction from the new planetary boundary layer (PBL) scheme. Shortwave, longwave, and net CRE are quantitatively analyzed as well. Regions of strong large-scale atmospheric upwelling/downwelling motion are also defined to compare regional differences across multiple cloud and radiative variables. In general, the P5 and C5 simulations agree with the observations better over the downwelling regime than over the upwelling regime. Comparing the results herein with the cloud property comparisons presented in Part I, the modeled TOA radiation budgets and CREs agree well with the CE observations. These results, combined with results in Part I, have quantitatively estimated how much improvement is found in the P5-simulated cloud and radiative properties, particularly over the SMLs and tropics, due to the implementation of the new PBL and convection schemes.

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Sun Wong
,
Anthony D. Del Genio
,
Tao Wang
,
Brian H. Kahn
,
Eric J. Fetzer
, and
Tristan S. L’Ecuyer

Abstract

An atmospheric-water-budget-related phase space is constructed with the tendency terms related to dynamical convergence (QCON ≡ −Q∇ ⋅ V) and moisture advection (QADV ≡ −V ⋅ ∇Q) in the water budget equation. Over the tropical oceans, QCON accounts for large-scale dynamical conditions related to conditional instability, and QADV accounts for conditions related to lower-tropospheric moisture gradient. Two reanalysis products [MERRA and ERA-Interim (ERAi)] are used to calculate QCON and QADV. Using the phase space as a reference frame, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) cloud-top pressure (CTP) and cloud optical depth (COD) are used to evaluate simulated clouds in the GISS-E2 general circulation model. In regimes of divergence over the tropical oceans, moist advection yields frequent high- to midlevel medium-thickness to thick clouds associated with moderate stratiform precipitation, while dry advection yields low-level thin clouds associated with shallow convection with lowered cloud tops. In regimes with convergence, moist and dry advection modulate the relative abundance of high-level thick clouds and low-level thin to medium-thickness clouds. GISS-E2 qualitatively reproduces the cloud property dependence on moisture budget tendencies in regimes of convergence but with larger COD compared to MODIS. Low-level thick clouds in GISS-E2 are the most frequent in regimes of near-zero convergence and moist advection instead of those of large-scale divergence. Compared to the Global Precipitation Climatology Project product, MERRA, ERAi, and GISS-E2 have more rain in regimes with deep convection and less rain in regimes with shallow convection.

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Suzana J. Camargo
,
Claudia F. Giulivi
,
Adam H. Sobel
,
Allison A. Wing
,
Daehyun Kim
,
Yumin Moon
,
Jeffrey D. O. Strong
,
Anthony D. Del Genio
,
Maxwell Kelley
,
Hiroyuki Murakami
,
Kevin A. Reed
,
Enrico Scoccimarro
,
Gabriel A. Vecchi
,
Michael F. Wehner
,
Colin Zarzycki
, and
Ming Zhao

Abstract

Here we explore the relationship between the global climatological characteristics of tropical cyclones (TCs) in climate models and the modeled large-scale environment across a large number of models. We consider the climatology of TCs in 30 climate models with a wide range of horizontal resolutions. We examine if there is a systematic relationship between the climatological diagnostics for the TC activity [number of tropical cyclones (NTC) and accumulated cyclone energy (ACE)] by hemisphere in the models and the environmental fields usually associated with TC activity, when examined across a large number of models. For low-resolution models, there is no association between a conducive environment and TC activity, when integrated over space (tropical hemisphere) and time (all years of the simulation). As the model resolution increases, for a couple of variables, in particular vertical wind shear, there is a statistically significant relationship in between the models’ TC characteristics and the environmental characteristics, but in most cases the relationship is either nonexistent or the opposite of what is expected based on observations. It is important to stress that these results do not imply that there is no relationship between individual models’ environmental fields and their TC activity by basin with respect to intraseasonal or interannual variability or due to climate change. However, it is clear that when examined across many models, the models’ mean state does not have a consistent relationship with the models’ mean TC activity. Therefore, other processes associated with the model physics, dynamical core, and resolution determine the climatological TC activity in climate models.

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Robert Wood
,
Michael P. Jensen
,
Jian Wang
,
Christopher S. Bretherton
,
Susannah M. Burrows
,
Anthony D. Del Genio
,
Ann M. Fridlind
,
Steven J. Ghan
,
Virendra P. Ghate
,
Pavlos Kollias
,
Steven K. Krueger
,
Robert L. McGraw
,
Mark A. Miller
,
David Painemal
,
Lynn M. Russell
,
Sandra E. Yuter
, and
Paquita Zuidema
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