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Xiping Zeng
,
Wei-Kuo Tao
,
Scott W. Powell
,
Robert A. Houze Jr.
,
Paul Ciesielski
,
Nick Guy
,
Harold Pierce
, and
Toshihisa Matsui

Abstract

Two field campaigns, the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) and the Tropical Warm Pool–International Cloud Experiment (TWP-ICE), took place in 2006 near Niamey, Niger, and Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, providing extensive observations of mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) near a desert and a tropical coast, respectively. Under the constraint of their observations, three-dimensional cloud-resolving model simulations are carried out and presented in this paper to replicate the basic characteristics of the observed MCSs. All of the modeled MCSs exhibit a distinct structure having deep convective clouds accompanied by stratiform and anvil clouds. In contrast to the approximately 100-km-scale MCSs observed in TWP-ICE, the MCSs in AMMA have been successfully simulated with a scale of about 400 km.

These modeled AMMA and TWP-ICE MCSs offer an opportunity to understand the structure and mechanism of MCSs. Comparing the water budgets between AMMA and TWP-ICE MCSs suggests that TWP-ICE convective clouds have stronger ascent while the mesoscale ascent outside convective clouds in AMMA is stronger. A case comparison, with the aid of sensitivity experiments, also suggests that vertical wind shear and ice crystal (or dust aerosol) concentration can significantly impact stratiform and anvil clouds (e.g., their areas) in MCSs. In addition, the obtained water budgets quantitatively describe the transport of water between convective, stratiform, and anvil regions as well as water sources/sinks from microphysical processes, providing information that can be used to help determine parameters in the convective and cloud parameterizations in general circulation models (GCMs).

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