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  • Author or Editor: Zachary J. Lebo x
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Zachary J. Lebo

Abstract

Changes in the aerosol number concentration are reflected by changes in raindrop size and number concentration that ultimately affect the strength of cold pools via evaporation. Therefore, aerosol perturbations can potentially alter the balance between cold pool–induced and low-level wind shear–induced circulations. In the present work, simulations with increased aerosol loadings below approximately 3 km, between approximately 3 and 10 km, and at all vertical levels are performed to specifically address both the overall sensitivity of a squall line to the vertical distribution of aerosols and the extent to which low-level aerosols can affect the convective strength of the system. The results suggest that low-level aerosol perturbations have a negligible effect on the overall storm strength even though they act to enhance low-level latent heating rates. A tracer analysis shows that the low-level aerosols are either predominantly detrained at or below the freezing level or are rapidly lifted to the top of the troposphere or the lower stratosphere within the strongest convective cores. Moreover, it is shown that midlevel aerosol perturbations have nearly the same effect as perturbing the entire domain, increasing the convective updraft mass flux by more than 10%. These changes in strength are driven by a complex chain of events caused by smaller supercooled droplets, larger graupel, and larger raindrops. Combined, these changes tend to reduce the low-level bulk evaporation rate, thus weakening the cold pool and enhancing updraft strength. The results presented herein suggest that midlevel aerosol perturbations may exhibit a much larger effect on squall lines, at least in the context of this idealized framework.

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Zachary J. Lebo
and
Hugh Morrison

Abstract

A novel two-moment bulk aerosol parameterization is derived from a state-of-the-art 2D bin microphysics model using power-law relationships and a semi-analytical technique for activation. The activation scheme predicts both number and mass of a lognormal aerosol distribution and permits the evolution of the modal mass with time. The newly developed bulk aerosol scheme is formulated for use in traditional two-moment bulk microphysics models. The new explicit scheme is compared with the 2D bin scheme and a simple scaling aerosol parameterization, in which all the aerosol processes are scaled to the respective cloud process rates, in a kinematic model with a specified flow field. Hybrid simulations in which the explicit activation formulation is coupled to the scaling parameterization are also performed. Model results demonstrate the significance of including a physically realistic representation of aerosols contained in haze, cloud droplets, and rain. It is shown that the explicit aerosol parameterization and scaling method predict similar bulk aerosol quantities and match the results of the 2D bin model only if an explicit treatment of aerosol activation—that is, both aerosol number and mass transfer because of activation—is included in the microphysics model.

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Yishi Hu
,
Zachary J. Lebo
,
Bart Geerts
,
Yonggang Wang
, and
Yazhe Hu

Abstract

Part I of this series presented a detailed overview of postfrontal mixed-phase clouds observed during the Measurements of Aerosols, Radiation, and Clouds over the Southern Ocean (MARCUS) field campaign. In Part II, we focus on a multiday (23–26 February 2018) case with the aim of understanding ice production as well as model sensitivity to ice process parameterizations using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model. The control simulation with the Predicted Particle Properties (P3) microphysics scheme underestimates the ice content and overestimates the supercooled liquid water content, contrary to the bias common in global climate models. The simulations targeted at ice production processes show negligible sensitivity to cloud droplet number concentrations. Further, neither increasing ice nuclei particle (INP) concentrations to an unrealistic level nor adjusting it to MARCUS field estimations alone guarantees more ice production in the model. However, the simulated clouds are found to be highly sensitive to the implementation of immersion freezing, the thresholding of condensation/deposition freezing initiation, and the rime splintering process. By increasing immersion freezing of cloud droplets, relaxing thresholds for condensation/deposition freezing, or removing rime splintering thresholds, the model significantly improves its performance in producing ice. The relaxation of the immersion freezing temperature threshold to the observed cloud-top temperature suggests an in-cloud seeder–feeder mechanism. The results of this work call for an increase in observations of INP, especially over the remote Southern Ocean and at relatively high temperatures, and measurements of ice particle size distributions to better constrain ice nucleating processes in models.

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Vanessa M. Przybylo
,
Kara J. Sulia
,
Zachary J. Lebo
, and
Carl G. Schmitt

Abstract

Bulk ice-microphysical models parameterize the dynamic evolution of ice particles from advection, collection, and sedimentation through a cloud layer to the surface. Frozen hydrometeors can grow to acquire a multitude of shapes and sizes, which influence the distribution of mass within cloud systems. Aggregates, defined herein as the collection of ice particles, have a variety of formations based on initial ice particle size, shape, falling orientation, and the number of particles that collect. This work focuses on using the Ice Particle and Aggregate Simulator (IPAS) as a statistical tool to repetitively collect ice crystals of identical properties to derive bulk aggregate characteristics. A database of 9 744 000 aggregates is generated with resulting properties analyzed. After 150 single ice crystals (monomers) collect, the most extreme aggregate aspect ratio calculations asymptote toward ϕ c a = ( c / a ) 0.75 and ϕca ≈ 0.50 for aggregates composed of quasi-horizontally oriented and randomly oriented monomers, respectively. The results presented are largely consistent with both a previous theoretical study and estimates derived from ground-based observations from two different geographic locations. Particle falling orientation highly influences newly formed aggregate aspect ratios from the collection of particles with extreme aspect ratios; quasi-horizontally oriented particles can produce aggregate aspect ratios an order of magnitude more extreme than randomly oriented particles but can also produce near-spherical aggregates as the number of monomers comprising the aggregate reach approximately 100. Finally, a majority of collections result in aggregates that are closer to prolate than oblate spheroids.

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Vanessa M. Przybylo
,
Kara J. Sulia
,
Zachary J. Lebo
, and
Carl G. Schmitt

Abstract

The Ice Particle and Aggregate Simulator (IPAS) is used to theoretically represent the aggregation process of ice crystals. Aggregates have a variety of formations based on initial ice particle size, shape, and falling orientation, all of which influence water phase partitioning. Aggregate dimensional properties and density changes are calculated for monomer–monomer (MON–MON), monomer–aggregate (MON–AGG), and aggregate–aggregate (AGG–AGG) collection to be used by ice-microphysical models for improvement in aggregation parameterizations. Aggregates are chosen from a database of 9 744 000 preformed combinations to be further collected (see ). AGG–AGG collection results in more extreme and a smaller range of aggregate aspect ratios than MON–AGG collection. A majority of aggregates are closer to prolate than oblate spheroids, regardless of collection type, except for quasi-horizontally oriented particles that have extreme aspect ratios to begin with. MON–AGG collection frequently results in an increase in density upon collection, whereas MON–MON and AGG–AGG collection almost always result in particle density decreases, with extreme reductions near 99% for MON–MON collection. MON–MON collection results in the greatest decreases in density but then quickly becomes unaffected by the addition of more monomers due to inherent size differences between monomers and aggregates. Finally, a holistic analysis to in situ observations of cloud particle images is presented. IPAS 2D aspect ratios surround a median value of 0.6 and closely follow that of previous studies while varying by no more than ≈12% on average from observed aggregates.

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Kara J. Sulia
,
Zachary J. Lebo
,
Vanessa M. Przybylo
, and
Carl G. Schmitt

Abstract

A novel methodology for modeling ice–ice aggregation is presented. This methodology combines a modified hydrodynamic collection algorithm with bulk aggregate characteristic information from an offline simulator that collects ice particles, namely, the Ice Particle and Aggregate Simulator, and has been implemented into the Adaptive Habit Microphysics scheme in the Weather Research and Forecasting Model. Aggregates, or snow, are formed via collection of cloud ice particles, where initial ice characteristics and the resulting geometry determine aggregate characteristics. Upon implementation, idealized squall-line simulations are performed to examine the new methodology in comparison with commonly used bulk microphysics schemes. It is found that the adaptive habit aggregation parameterization develops snow and reduces ice mass and number concentrations compared to other schemes. The development of aggregates through the new methodology cascades into other interesting effects, including enhancements in ice and snow growth, as well as homogeneous freezing. Further microphysical analyses reveal varying sensitivities, where snow processes are most sensitive to the new parameterization, followed by ice, then cloud, rain, and graupel processes. Further, the new scheme results in enhancements in surface precipitation due to the persistence of snow at lower altitudes. This persistence is a result of shape-dependent melting and sublimation, increasing the residence time. Moreover, these low-level enhancements are reflected in increases in radar reflectivity at the surface and its spatial distribution. Finally, the ability to predict snow shape and density allows for the simulation of polarimetric radar quantities, resulting in signature enhancements compared to schemes that do not consider spatial and temporal variations in snow shape and density.

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Vanessa M. Przybylo
,
Kara J. Sulia
,
Carl G. Schmitt
,
Zachary J. Lebo
, and
William C. May

Abstract

Aggregation, the process by which two or more ice particles attach to each other, is typically observed in clouds that span a range of temperatures and is influenced by the crystal shape (habit). In this study, the resulting characteristics of ice–ice two-monomer aggregation is investigated, which is expected to improve microphysical parameterizations through more precise aggregate characteristics and in turn better predict the rate of aggregation and snow development. A systematic way to determine the aspect ratio of the aggregate was developed, which takes into account the expected falling orientations, overlap of each monomer, and any contact angle that may form through so-called constrained randomization. Distributions were used to obtain the most frequent aspect ratio, major axis, and minor axis of aggregated particles with respect to the monomer aspect ratio. Simulations were completed using the Ice Particle and Aggregate Simulator (IPAS), a model that uses predefined three-dimensional geometries, (e.g., hexagonal prisms) to simulate ice crystal aggregation and allows for variation in crystal size, shape, number, and falling orientation. In this study, after collection in a theoretical grid space, detailed information is extracted from the particles to determine the properties of aggregates. It was found that almost all monomer aspect ratios aggregate to less extreme aggregate aspect ratios at nearly the same rate. Newly formed aggregate properties are amenable to implementation into more sophisticated bulk microphysical models designed to predict and evolve particle properties, which is crucial in realistically evolving cloud ice mass distribution and for representing the collection process.

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Hugh Morrison
,
Mikael Witte
,
George H. Bryan
,
Jerry Y. Harrington
, and
Zachary J. Lebo

Abstract

This study investigates droplet size distribution (DSD) characteristics from condensational growth and transport in Eulerian dynamical models with bin microphysics. A hierarchy of modeling frameworks is utilized, including parcel, one-dimensional (1D), and three-dimensional large-eddy simulation (LES). The bin DSDs from the 1D model, which includes only vertical advection and condensational growth, are nearly as broad as those from the LES and in line with observed DSD widths for stratocumulus clouds. These DSDs are much broader than those from Lagrangian microphysical calculations within a parcel framework that serve as a numerical benchmark for the 1D tests. In contrast, the bin-modeled DSDs are similar to the Lagrangian microphysical benchmark for a rising parcel in which Eulerian transport is not considered. These results indicate that numerical diffusion associated with vertical advection is a key contributor to broadening DSDs in the 1D model and LES. This DSD broadening from vertical numerical diffusion is unphysical, in contrast to the physical mixing processes that previous studies have indicated broaden DSDs in real clouds. It is proposed that artificial DSD broadening from vertical numerical diffusion compensates for underrepresented horizontal variability and mixing of different droplet populations in typical LES configurations with bin microphysics, or the neglect of other mechanisms that broaden DSDs such as growth of giant cloud condensation nuclei. These results call into question the ability of Eulerian dynamical models with bin microphysics to investigate the physical mechanisms for DSD broadening, even though they may reasonably simulate overall DSD characteristics.

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Lianet Hernández Pardo
,
Hugh Morrison
,
Luiz A. T. Machado
,
Jerry Y. Harrington
, and
Zachary J. Lebo

Abstract

In this study, processes that broaden drop size distributions (DSDs) in Eulerian models with two-moment bin microphysics are analyzed. Numerous tests are performed to isolate the effects of different physical mechanisms that broaden DSDs in two- and three-dimensional Weather Research and Forecasting Model simulations of an idealized ice-free cumulus cloud. Sensitivity of these effects to modifying horizontal and vertical model grid spacings is also examined. As expected, collision–coalescence is a key process broadening the modeled DSDs. In-cloud droplet activation also contributes substantially to DSD broadening, whereas evaporation has only a minor effect and sedimentation has little effect. Cloud dilution (mixing of cloud-free and cloudy air) also broadens the DSDs considerably, whether or not it is accompanied by evaporation. This mechanism involves the reduction of droplet concentration from dilution along the cloud’s lateral edges, leading to locally high supersaturation and enhanced drop growth when this air is subsequently lifted in the updraft. DSD broadening ensues when the DSDs are mixed with those from the cloud core. Decreasing the horizontal and vertical model grid spacings from 100 to 30 m has limited impact on the DSDs. However, when these physical broadening mechanisms (in-cloud activation, collision–coalescence, dilution, etc.) are turned off, there is a reduction of DSD width by up to ~20%–50% when the vertical grid spacing is decreased from 100 to 30 m, consistent with effects of artificial broadening from vertical numerical diffusion. Nonetheless, this artificial numerical broadening appears to be relatively unimportant overall for DSD broadening when physically based broadening mechanisms in the model are included for this cumulus case.

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Yazhe Hu
,
Bart Geerts
,
Min Deng
,
Coltin Grasmick
,
Yonggang Wang
,
Christian Philipp Lackner
,
Yishi Hu
,
Zachary J. Lebo
, and
Damao Zhang

Abstract

A study of the vertical structure of postfrontal shallow clouds in the marine boundary layer over the Southern Ocean is presented. The central question of this two-part study regards cloud phase (liquid/ice) of precipitation, and the associated growth mechanisms. In this first part, data from the Measurements of Aerosols, Radiation, and Clouds over the Southern Ocean (MARCUS) field campaign are analyzed, starting with a 75-h case with continuous sea surface-based thermal instability, modest surface heat fluxes, an open-cellular mesoscale organization, and very few ice nucleating particles (INPs). The clouds are mostly precipitating and shallow (tops mostly around 2 km above sea level), with weak up- and downdrafts, and with cloud-top temperatures generally around −18° to −10°C. The case study is extended to three other periods of postfrontal shallow clouds in MARCUS. While abundant supercooled liquid water is commonly present, an experimental cloud-phase algorithm classifies nearly two-thirds of clouds in the 0° to −5°C layer as containing ice (cloud ice, snow, or mixed phase), implying that much of the precipitation grows through cold-cloud processes. The best predictors of ice presence are cloud-top temperature, cloud depth, and INP concentration. Measures of convective activity and turbulence are found to be poor indicators of ice presence in the studied environment. The water-phase distribution in this cloud regime is explored through numerical simulations in Part II.

Significance Statement

Climate models generally predict a lower albedo than observed over the Southern Ocean, and this is largely attributed to a lack of cloudiness, especially in the postfrontal cold sector of midlatitude cyclones. This in turn may be due to an excess of ice in these simulated clouds, resulting in rapid precipitation fallout and an overly brief cloud lifespan. The objective of this study is to examine whether shallow postfrontal clouds over the Southern Ocean are dominated by supercooled drops, or by snow and ice, using data collected by a U.S. Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Mobile Facility deployed aboard an Australian Antarctic supply vessel. We find that these clouds contain much supercooled liquid, even though cloud-top temperatures generally are around −18° to −8°C, and that about two-thirds of the clouds just above the freezing level contain ice. Much of the precipitation appears to grow through cold-cloud processes above the freezing level, rather than drizzle/rain. Updrafts and/or turbulence in convection or in cloud-top generating cells do not initiate much ice, compared to observations elsewhere in a similar temperature range. This may be attributable to the extremely low concentration of ice nucleating particles in this environment. Ultimately, the deepest clouds with the coldest cloud tops are most likely to be ice dominated.

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