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J.-L. F. Li, D. E. Waliser, G. Stephens, and Seungwon Lee

Abstract

The authors present an observationally based evaluation of the vertically resolved cloud ice water content (CIWC) and vertically integrated cloud ice water path (CIWP) as well as radiative shortwave flux downward at the surface (RSDS), reflected shortwave (RSUT), and radiative longwave flux upward at top of atmosphere (RLUT) of present-day global climate models (GCMs), notably twentieth-century simulations from the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5), and compare these results to those of the third phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3) and two recent reanalyses. Three different CloudSat and/or Cloud–Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) combined ice water products and two methods are used to remove the contribution from the convective core ice mass and/or precipitating cloud hydrometeors with variable sizes and falling speeds so that a robust observational estimate can be obtained for model evaluations.

The results show that, for annual mean CIWC and CIWP, there are factors of 2–10 (either over- or underestimate) in the differences between observations and models for a majority of the GCMs and for a number of regions. Most of the GCMs in CMIP3 and CMIP5 significantly underestimate the total ice water mass because models only consider suspended cloud mass, ignoring falling and convective core cloud mass. For the annual means of RSDS, RLUT, and RSUT, a majority of the models have significant regional biases ranging from −30 to 30 W m−2. Based on these biases in the annual means, there is virtually no progress in the simulation fidelity of RSDS, RLUT, and RSUT fluxes from CMIP3 to CMIP5, even though there is about a 50% bias reduction improvement of global annual mean CIWP from CMIP3 to CMIP5. It is concluded that at least a part of these persistent biases stem from the common GCM practice of ignoring the effects of precipitating and/or convective core ice and liquid in their radiation calculations.

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W.-K. Tao, Y. N. Takayabu, S. Lang, S. Shige, W. Olson, A. Hou, G. Skofronick-Jackson, X. Jiang, C. Zhang, W. Lau, T. Krishnamurti, D. Waliser, M. Grecu, P. E. Ciesielski, R. H. Johnson, R. Houze, R. Kakar, K. Nakamura, S. Braun, S. Hagos, R. Oki, and A. Bhardwaj

Abstract

Yanai and coauthors utilized the meteorological data collected from a sounding network to present a pioneering work in 1973 on thermodynamic budgets, which are referred to as the apparent heat source (Q 1) and apparent moisture sink (Q 2). Latent heating (LH) is one of the most dominant terms in Q 1. Yanai’s paper motivated the development of satellite-based LH algorithms and provided a theoretical background for imposing large-scale advective forcing into cloud-resolving models (CRMs). These CRM-simulated LH and Q 1 data have been used to generate the look-up tables in Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) LH algorithms. A set of algorithms developed for retrieving LH profiles from TRMM-based rainfall profiles is described and evaluated, including details concerning their intrinsic space–time resolutions. Included in the paper are results from a variety of validation analyses that define the uncertainty of the LH profile estimates. Also, examples of how TRMM-retrieved LH profiles have been used to understand the life cycle of the MJO and improve the predictions of global weather and climate models as well as comparisons with large-scale analyses are provided. Areas for further improvement of the TRMM products are discussed.

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