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Céline Planche, Frédéric Tridon, Sandra Banson, Gregory Thompson, Marie Monier, Alessandro Battaglia, and Wolfram Wobrock

Abstract

A comparison between retrieved properties of the rain drop size distributions (DSDs) from multifrequency cloud radar observations and WRF Model results using either the Morrison or the Thompson bulk microphysics scheme is performed in order to evaluate the model’s ability to predict the rain microphysics. This comparison reveals discrepancies in the vertical profile of the rain DSDs for the stratiform region of the squall-line system observed on 12 June 2011 over Oklahoma. Based on numerical sensitivity analyses, this study addresses the bias at the top of the rain layer and the vertical evolution of the DSD properties (i.e., of D m and N0*). In this way, the Thompson scheme is used to explore the sensitivity to the melting process. Moreover, using the Thompson and Morrison schemes, the sensitivity of the DSD vertical evolution to different breakup and self-collection parameterizations is studied. Results show that the DSDs are strongly dependent on the representation of the melting process in the Thompson scheme. In the Morrison scheme, the simulations with more efficient breakup reproduce the DSD properties with better fidelity. This study highlights how the inaccuracies in simulated D m and N0* for both microphysics schemes can impact the evaporation rate, which is systematically underestimated in the model.

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W. J. Gutowski Jr, P. A. Ullrich, A. Hall, L. R. Leung, T. A. O’Brien, C. M. Patricola, R. W. Arritt, M. S. Bukovsky, K. V. Calvin, Z. Feng, A. D. Jones, G. J. Kooperman, E. Monier, M. S. Pritchard, S. C. Pryor, Y. Qian, A. M. Rhoades, A. F. Roberts, K. Sakaguchi, N. Urban, and C. Zarzycki

ABSTRACT

Regional climate modeling addresses our need to understand and simulate climatic processes and phenomena unresolved in global models. This paper highlights examples of current approaches to and innovative uses of regional climate modeling that deepen understanding of the climate system. High-resolution models are generally more skillful in simulating extremes, such as heavy precipitation, strong winds, and severe storms. In addition, research has shown that fine-scale features such as mountains, coastlines, lakes, irrigation, land use, and urban heat islands can substantially influence a region’s climate and its response to changing forcings. Regional climate simulations explicitly simulating convection are now being performed, providing an opportunity to illuminate new physical behavior that previously was represented by parameterizations with large uncertainties. Regional and global models are both advancing toward higher resolution, as computational capacity increases. However, the resolution and ensemble size necessary to produce a sufficient statistical sample of these processes in global models has proven too costly for contemporary supercomputing systems. Regional climate models are thus indispensable tools that complement global models for understanding physical processes governing regional climate variability and change. The deeper understanding of regional climate processes also benefits stakeholders and policymakers who need physically robust, high-resolution climate information to guide societal responses to changing climate. Key scientific questions that will continue to require regional climate models, and opportunities are emerging for addressing those questions.

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W. J. Gutowski Jr., P. A. Ullrich, A. Hall, L. R. Leung, T. A. O’Brien, C. M. Patricola, R. W. Arritt, M. S. Bukovsky, K. V. Calvin, Z. Feng, A. D. Jones, G. J. Kooperman, E. Monier, M. S. Pritchard, S. C. Pryor, Y. Qian, A. M. Rhoades, A. F. Roberts, K. Sakaguchi, N. Urban, and C. Zarzycki
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Kirsten Zickfeld, Michael Eby, Andrew J. Weaver, Kaitlin Alexander, Elisabeth Crespin, Neil R. Edwards, Alexey V. Eliseev, Georg Feulner, Thierry Fichefet, Chris E. Forest, Pierre Friedlingstein, Hugues Goosse, Philip B. Holden, Fortunat Joos, Michio Kawamiya, David Kicklighter, Hendrik Kienert, Katsumi Matsumoto, Igor I. Mokhov, Erwan Monier, Steffen M. Olsen, Jens O. P. Pedersen, Mahe Perrette, Gwenaëlle Philippon-Berthier, Andy Ridgwell, Adam Schlosser, Thomas Schneider Von Deimling, Gary Shaffer, Andrei Sokolov, Renato Spahni, Marco Steinacher, Kaoru Tachiiri, Kathy S. Tokos, Masakazu Yoshimori, Ning Zeng, and Fang Zhao

Abstract

This paper summarizes the results of an intercomparison project with Earth System Models of Intermediate Complexity (EMICs) undertaken in support of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). The focus is on long-term climate projections designed to 1) quantify the climate change commitment of different radiative forcing trajectories and 2) explore the extent to which climate change is reversible on human time scales. All commitment simulations follow the four representative concentration pathways (RCPs) and their extensions to year 2300. Most EMICs simulate substantial surface air temperature and thermosteric sea level rise commitment following stabilization of the atmospheric composition at year-2300 levels. The meridional overturning circulation (MOC) is weakened temporarily and recovers to near-preindustrial values in most models for RCPs 2.6–6.0. The MOC weakening is more persistent for RCP8.5. Elimination of anthropogenic CO2 emissions after 2300 results in slowly decreasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations. At year 3000 atmospheric CO2 is still at more than half its year-2300 level in all EMICs for RCPs 4.5–8.5. Surface air temperature remains constant or decreases slightly and thermosteric sea level rise continues for centuries after elimination of CO2 emissions in all EMICs. Restoration of atmospheric CO2 from RCP to preindustrial levels over 100–1000 years requires large artificial removal of CO2 from the atmosphere and does not result in the simultaneous return to preindustrial climate conditions, as surface air temperature and sea level response exhibit a substantial time lag relative to atmospheric CO2.

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