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Emily M. Riley Dellaripa, Aaron Funk, Courtney Schumacher, Hedanqiu Bai, and Thomas Spangehl

Abstract

Comparisons of precipitation between general circulation models (GCMs) and observations are often confounded by a mismatch between model output and instrument measurements, including variable type and temporal and spatial resolutions. To mitigate these differences, the radar-simulator Quickbeam within the Cloud Feedback Model Intercomparison Project (CFMIP) Observation Simulator Package (COSP) simulates reflectivity from model variables at the subgrid scale. This work adapts Quickbeam to the dual-frequency precipitation radar (DPR) on board the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite. The longer wavelength of the DPR is used to evaluate moderate to heavy precipitation in GCMs, which is missed when Quickbeam is used as a cloud radar simulator. Latitudinal and land–ocean comparisons are made between COSP output from the Community Atmospheric Model version 5 (CAM5) and DPR data. Additionally, this work improves the COSP subgrid algorithm by applying a more realistic, nondeterministic approach to assigning GCM gridbox convective cloud cover when convective cloud is not provided as a model output. Instead of assuming a static 5% convective cloud coverage, DPR convective precipitation coverage is used as a proxy for convective cloud coverage. For example, DPR observations show that convective rain typically only covers about 1% of a 2° grid box, but that the median convective rain area increases to over 10% in heavy rain cases. In our CAM5 tests, the updated subgrid algorithm improved the comparison between reflectivity distributions when the convective cloud cover is provided versus the default 5% convective cloud-cover assumption.

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Hedanqiu Bai, Gumilang Deranadyan, Courtney Schumacher, Aaron Funk, Craig Epifanio, Abdullah Ali, Endarwin, Fachri Radjab, Riris Adriyanto, Noer Nurhayati, Yudha Nugraha, and Annisa Fauziah

Abstract

Afternoon deep convection over the Maritime Continent islands propagates offshore in the evening to early morning hours, leading to a nocturnal rainfall maximum over the nearby ocean. This work investigates the formation of the seaward precipitation migration off western Sumatra and its intraseasonal and seasonal characteristics using BMKG C-band radar observations from Padang and ERA5 reanalysis. A total of 117 nocturnal offshore rainfall events were identified in 2018, with an average propagation speed of 4.5 m s−1 within 180 km of Sumatra. Most offshore propagation events occur when the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) is either weak (real-time multivariate MJO index < 1) or active over the Indian Ocean (phases 1–3), whereas very few occur when the MJO is active over the Maritime Continent and western Pacific Ocean (phases 4–6). The occurrence of offshore rainfall events also varies on the basis of the seasonal evolution of the large-scale circulation associated with the Asian–Australian monsoons, with fewer events during the monsoon seasons of December–February and June–August and more during the transition seasons of March–May and September–November. Low-level convergence, resulting from the interaction of the land breeze and background low-level westerlies, is found to be the primary driver for producing offshore convective rain propagation from the west coast of Sumatra. Stratiform rain propagation speeds are further increased by upper-level easterlies, which explains the faster migration speed of high reflective clouds observed by satellite. However, temperature anomalies associated with daytime convective latent heating over Sumatra indicate that gravity waves may also modulate the offshore environment to be conducive to seaward convection migration.

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