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Christopher J. Anderson, Raymond W. Arritt, and John S. Kain


The authors have altered the vertical profile of updraft mass flux detrainment in an implementation of the Kain–Fritsch2 (KF2) convective parameterization within the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research (Penn State–NCAR) Mesoscale Model (MM5). The effect of this modification was to alter the vertical profile of convective parameterization cloud mass (including cloud water and ice) supplied to the host model for explicit simulation by the grid-resolved dynamical equations and parameterized microphysical processes. These modifications and their sensitivity to horizontal resolution in a matrix of experimental simulations of the June–July 1993 flood in the central United States were tested.

The KF2 modifications impacted the diurnal cycle of precipitation by reducing precipitation from the convective parameterization and increasing precipitation from more slowly evolving mesoscale processes. The modified KF2 reduced an afternoon bias of high precipitation rate in both low- and high-resolution simulations but affected mesoscale precipitation processes only in high-resolution simulations. The combination of high-resolution and modified KF2 resulted in more frequent and more realistically clustered propagating, nocturnal mesoscale precipitation events and agreed best with observations of the nocturnal precipitation rate.

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Christopher J. Anderson, Raymond W. Arritt, Zaitao Pan, Eugene S. Takle, William J. Gutowski Jr., Francis O. Otieno, Renato da Silva, Daniel Caya, Jens H. Christensen, Daniel Lüthi, Miguel A. Gaertner, Clemente Gallardo, Filippo Giorgi, René Laprise, Song-You Hong, Colin Jones, H-M. H. Juang, J. J. Katzfey, John L. McGregor, William M. Lapenta, Jay W. Larson, John A. Taylor, Glen E. Liston, Roger A. Pielke Sr., and John O. Roads


Thirteen regional climate model (RCM) simulations of June–July 1993 were compared with each other and observations. Water vapor conservation and precipitation characteristics in each RCM were examined for a 10° × 10° subregion of the upper Mississippi River basin, containing the region of maximum 60-day accumulated precipitation in all RCMs and station reports.

All RCMs produced positive precipitation minus evapotranspiration (PE > 0), though most RCMs produced PE below the observed range. RCM recycling ratios were within the range estimated from observations. No evidence of common errors of E was found. In contrast, common dry bias of P was found in the simulations.

Daily cycles of terms in the water vapor conservation equation were qualitatively similar in most RCMs. Nocturnal maximums of P and C (convergence) occurred in 9 of 13 RCMs, consistent with observations. Three of the four driest simulations failed to couple P and C overnight, producing afternoon maximum P. Further, dry simulations tended to produce a larger fraction of their 60-day accumulated precipitation from low 3-h totals.

In station reports, accumulation from high (low) 3-h totals had a nocturnal (early morning) maximum. This time lag occurred, in part, because many mesoscale convective systems had reached peak intensity overnight and had declined in intensity by early morning. None of the RCMs contained such a time lag. It is recommended that short-period experiments be performed to examine the ability of RCMs to simulate mesoscale convective systems prior to generating long-period simulations for hydroclimatology.

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