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A. P. Lock

Abstract

Problems have been identified with parameterizations of convective boundary layers, in particular with their numerical treatment of the capping inversion. It is shown that the turbulence scheme can combine with the numerical representation of subsidence to produce unphysical entrainment, as was also identified by Lenderink and Holtslag. A correction is proposed for the Lock et al. boundary layer parameterization in which a discontinuous inversion is diagnosed from the mean thermodynamic profiles every time step. This then allows a consistent treatment of subgrid-scale processes in the region of the inversion. In particular, the parameterized turbulent entrainment flux can be adjusted to allow for the spurious entrainment arising from the conflicting representations of turbulent mixing and vertical advection. It also allows a direct coupling between the turbulent and radiative fluxes to ensure that cloud-top radiative cooling is correctly distributed between the inversion grid level and the mixed layer.

The revised scheme demonstrates a much improved representation of stratocumulus-capped boundary layers, not only in single-column model tests but also in a climate-resolution GCM. In the latter, the semipermanent subtropical stratocumulus sheets appear realistic, both in terms of their cloud amount and their evolution. This suggests that a significant cause of the lack of stratocumulus in many GCMs may not be the inaccuracy of the parameterizations employed, but rather their numerical implementation.

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B. P. Leonard, A. P. Lock, and M. K. MacVean

Abstract

The multidimensional advection schemes described in this study are based on a strictly conservative flux-based control-volume formulation. They use an explicit forward-in-time update over a single time step, but there are no “stability” restrictions on the time step. Genuinely multidimensional forward-in-time advection schemes require an estimate of transverse contributions to each face-normal flux for stability. Traditional operator-splitting techniques based on sequential one-dimensional updates introduce such transverse cross-coupling automatically; however, they have serious shortcomings. For example, conservative-form operator splitting is indeed globally conservative but introduces a serious “splitting error”; in particular, a constant is not preserved in general solenoidal velocity fields. By contrast, advective-form operator splitting is constancy preserving but not conservative. However, by using advective-form estimates for the transverse contributions together with an overall conservative-form update, strictly conservative constancy-preserving schemes can be constructed. The new methods have the unrestricted-time-step advantages of semi-Lagrangian schemes, but with the important additional attribute of strict conservation due to their flux-based formulation. Shape-preserving techniques developed for small time steps can be incorporated. For large time steps, results are not strictly shape preserving but, in practice, deviations appear to be very slight so that overall behavior is essentially shape preserving. Since only one-dimensional flux calculations are required at each step of the computation, the algorithms described here should be highly compatible with existing advection codes based on conventional operator-splitting methods. Capabilities of the new schemes are demonstrated using the well-known scalar advection test problem devised by Smolarkiewicz.

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I. A. Boutle, J. E. J. Eyre, and A. P. Lock

Abstract

A pragmatic approach for representing partially resolved turbulence in numerical weather prediction models is introduced and tested. The method blends a conventional boundary layer parameterization, suitable for large grid lengths, with a subgrid turbulence scheme suitable for large-eddy simulation. The key parameter for blending the schemes is the ratio of grid length to boundary layer depth. The new parameterization is combined with a scale-aware microphysical parameterization and tested on a case study forecast of stratocumulus evolution. Simulations at a range of model grid lengths between 1 km and 100 m are compared to aircraft observations. The improved microphysical representation removes the correlation between precipitation rate and model grid length, while the new turbulence parameterization improves the transition from unresolved to resolved turbulence as grid length is reduced.

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A. Bodas-Salcedo, K. D. Williams, P. R. Field, and A. P. Lock

Abstract

The authors study the role of clouds in the persistent bias of surface downwelling shortwave radiation (SDSR) in the Southern Ocean in the atmosphere-only version of the Met Office model. The reduction of this bias in the atmosphere-only version is important to minimize sea surface temperature biases when the atmosphere model is coupled to a dynamic ocean. The authors use cloud properties and radiative fluxes estimates from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) and apply a clustering technique to classify clouds into different regimes over the Southern Ocean. Then, they composite the cloud regimes around cyclone centers, which allows them to study the role of each cloud regime in a mean composite cyclone. Low- and midlevel clouds in the cold-air sector of the cyclones are responsible for most of the bias. Based on this analysis, the authors develop and test a new diagnosis of shear-dominated boundary layers. This change improves the simulation of the SDSR through a better simulation of the frequency of occurrence of the cloud regimes in the cyclone composite. Substantial biases in the radiative properties of the midtop and stratocumulus regimes are still present, which suggests the need to increase the optical depth of the low-level cloud with moderate optical depth and cloud with tops at midlevels.

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A. P. Lock, A. R. Brown, M. R. Bush, G. M. Martin, and R. N. B. Smith
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G. M. Martin, M. R. Bush, A. R. Brown, A. P. Lock, and R. N. B. Smith

Abstract

A new turbulent mixing scheme, described in Part I of this paper, is tested in the climate and mesoscale configurations of the U.K. Met. Office’s Unified Model (UM). In climate configuration, the scheme is implemented along with increased vertical resolution below 700 hPa (the same as that in the mesoscale model), in order to allow the different boundary layer types and processes to be identified and treated properly. In both configurations, the new boundary layer (PBL-N) mixing scheme produces some improvement over the current boundary layer (PBL-C) scheme. The PBL-N scheme is able to diagnose different boundary layer types that appear to be consistent with the observed conditions, and the boundary layer structure is improved in comparison with observations. In the climate model, the boundary layer and cloud structure in the semipermanent stratocumulus regions of the eastern subtropical oceans are noticeably improved with the PBL-N scheme. The deepening and decoupling of the boundary layer toward the trade cumulus regime is also simulated more realistically. However, the cloud amounts in the stratocumulus regions, which were underestimated with the PBL-C scheme, are reduced further when the PBL-N scheme is included. Tests of the PBL-N scheme in the UM single-column model and in a development version of the UM, where the dynamics, time stepping, and vertical grid are different from the standard version, both show that realistic stratocumulus cloud amounts can be achieved. Thus, it is thought that the performance of the PBL-N scheme in the standard UM may be being limited by other aspects of that model. In the mesoscale model, improvements in the simulation of a convective case are achieved with the PBL-N scheme through reductions in layer cloud amount, while the simulation of a stratocumulus case is improved through better representation of the cloud and boundary layer structure. Other mesoscale model case studies show that there is a consistent improvement in fog probabilities and forecasts of cloud-base height. The root-mean-square errors in screen-level temperature are also reduced slightly. The weak daytime bias in wind strength is improved greatly through a systematic increase in the 10-m wind speed in unstable conditions. As a result of these trials, the scheme has been implemented operationally in the mesoscale model.

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A. P. Lock, A. R. Brown, M. R. Bush, G. M. Martin, and R. N. B. Smith

Abstract

A new boundary layer turbulent mixing scheme has been developed for use in the UKMO weather forecasting and climate prediction models. This includes a representation of nonlocal mixing (driven by both surface fluxes and cloud-top processes) in unstable layers, either coupled to or decoupled from the surface, and an explicit entrainment parameterization. The scheme is formulated in moist conserved variables so that it can treat both dry and cloudy layers. Details of the scheme and examples of its performance in single-column model tests are presented.

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L. Garcia-Carreras, D. J. Parker, J. H. Marsham, P. D. Rosenberg, I. M. Brooks, A. P. Lock, F. Marenco, J. B. McQuaid, and M. Hobby

Abstract

The turbulent structure and growth of the remote Saharan atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) is described with in situ radiosonde and aircraft measurements and a large-eddy simulation model. A month of radiosonde data from June 2011 provides a mean profile of the midday Saharan ABL, which is characterized by a well-mixed convective boundary layer, capped by a small temperature inversion (<1 K) and a deep, near-neutral residual layer. The boundary layer depth varies by up to 100% over horizontal distances of a few kilometers due to turbulent processes alone. The distinctive vertical structure also leads to unique boundary layer processes, such as detrainment of the warmest plumes across the weak temperature inversion, which slows down the warming and growth of the convective boundary layer. As the boundary layer grows, overshooting plumes can also entrain free-tropospheric air into the residual layer, forming a second entrainment zone that acts to maintain the inversion above the convective boundary layer, thus slowing down boundary layer growth further. A single-column model is unable to accurately reproduce the evolution of the Saharan boundary layer, highlighting the difficulty of representing such processes in large-scale models. These boundary layer processes are special to the Sahara, and possibly hot, dry, desert environments in general, and have implications for the large-scale structure of the Saharan heat low. The growth of the boundary layer influences the vertical redistribution of moisture and dust, and the spatial coverage and duration of clouds, with large-scale dynamical and radiative implications.

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Elizabeth J. Kendon, Nigel M. Roberts, Giorgia Fosser, Gill M. Martin, Adrian P. Lock, James M. Murphy, Catherine A. Senior, and Simon O. Tucker

Abstract

For the first time, a model at a resolution on par with operational weather forecast models has been used for national climate scenarios. An ensemble of 12 climate change projections at convection-permitting (2.2 km) scale has been run for the United Kingdom, as part of the UK Climate Projections (UKCP) project. Contrary to previous studies, these show greater future increases in winter mean precipitation in the convection-permitting model compared with the coarser (12 km) driving model. A large part (60%) of the future increase in winter precipitation occurrence over land comes from an increase in convective showers in the 2.2 km model, which are most likely triggered over the sea and advected inland with potentially further development. In the 12 km model, increases in precipitation occurrence over the sea, largely due to an increase in convective showers, do not extend over the land. This is partly due to known limitations of the convection parameterization scheme, used in conventional coarse-resolution climate models, which acts locally without direct memory and so has no ability to advect diagnosed convection over the land or trigger new showers along convective outflow boundaries. This study shows that the importance of accurately representing convection extends beyond short-duration precipitation extremes and the summer season to projecting future changes in mean precipitation in winter.

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J. Teixeira, S. Cardoso, M. Bonazzola, J. Cole, A. DelGenio, C. DeMott, C. Franklin, C. Hannay, C. Jakob, Y. Jiao, J. Karlsson, H. Kitagawa, M. Köhler, A. Kuwano-Yoshida, C. LeDrian, J. Li, A. Lock, M. J. Miller, P. Marquet, J. Martins, C. R. Mechoso, E. v. Meijgaard, I. Meinke, P. M. A. Miranda, D. Mironov, R. Neggers, H. L. Pan, D. A. Randall, P. J. Rasch, B. Rockel, W. B. Rossow, B. Ritter, A. P. Siebesma, P. M. M. Soares, F. J. Turk, P. A. Vaillancourt, A. Von Engeln, and M. Zhao

Abstract

A model evaluation approach is proposed in which weather and climate prediction models are analyzed along a Pacific Ocean cross section, from the stratocumulus regions off the coast of California, across the shallow convection dominated trade winds, to the deep convection regions of the ITCZ—the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment Cloud System Study/Working Group on Numerical Experimentation (GCSS/WGNE) Pacific Cross-Section Intercomparison (GPCI). The main goal of GPCI is to evaluate and help understand and improve the representation of tropical and subtropical cloud processes in weather and climate prediction models. In this paper, a detailed analysis of cloud regime transitions along the cross section from the subtropics to the tropics for the season June–July–August of 1998 is presented. This GPCI study confirms many of the typical weather and climate prediction model problems in the representation of clouds: underestimation of clouds in the stratocumulus regime by most models with the corresponding consequences in terms of shortwave radiation biases; overestimation of clouds by the 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40) in the deep tropics (in particular) with the corresponding impact in the outgoing longwave radiation; large spread between the different models in terms of cloud cover, liquid water path and shortwave radiation; significant differences between the models in terms of vertical cross sections of cloud properties (in particular), vertical velocity, and relative humidity. An alternative analysis of cloud cover mean statistics is proposed where sharp gradients in cloud cover along the GPCI transect are taken into account. This analysis shows that the negative cloud bias of some models and ERA-40 in the stratocumulus regions [as compared to the first International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP)] is associated not only with lower values of cloud cover in these regimes, but also with a stratocumulus-to-cumulus transition that occurs too early along the trade wind Lagrangian trajectory. Histograms of cloud cover along the cross section differ significantly between models. Some models exhibit a quasi-bimodal structure with cloud cover being either very large (close to 100%) or very small, while other models show a more continuous transition. The ISCCP observations suggest that reality is in-between these two extreme examples. These different patterns reflect the diverse nature of the cloud, boundary layer, and convection parameterizations in the participating weather and climate prediction models.

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