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István Geresdi and Roy Rasmussen

Abstract

This paper investigates how the characteristics of aerosol particles (size distribution and solubility) as well as the presence of giant nuclei affect drizzle formation in stably stratified layer clouds. A new technique was developed to simulate the evolution of water drops from wet aerosol particles and implemented into a detailed microphysical model. The detailed microphysical model was incorporated into a one-dimensional parcel model and a two-dimensional version of the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research (PSU–NCAR) Mesoscale Model (MM5). Sensitivity experiments were performed with the parcel model using a constant updraft speed and with the two-dimensional model by simulating flow over a bell-shaped mountain. The results showed that 1) stably stratified clouds with weak updrafts (<10 cm s−1) can form drizzle relatively rapidly for maritime size distributions with any aerosol particle solubility, and for continental size distributions with highly insoluble particles due to the low number of activated cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) (<100 cm−3), 2) drizzle is suppressed in stably stratified clouds with weak updrafts (<10 cm s−1) for highly soluble urban and extreme urban size distributions, and 3) the presence of giant nuclei only has an effect on drizzle formation for the highly soluble continental aerosol size distributions.

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István Geresdi, Lulin Xue, and Roy Rasmussen

Abstract

A new version of a bin microphysical scheme implemented into the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model was used to study the effect of glaciogenic seeding on precipitation formation in orographic clouds. The tracking of silver iodide (AgI) particles inside of water drops allows the proper simulation of the immersion nucleation. The ice formations by deposition, condensational freezing, and contact nucleation of AgI particles are also simulated in the scheme. Cloud formation—both stably stratified and convective—and the spread of AgI particles were simulated by idealized flow over a two-dimensional (2D) bell-shaped mountain. The results of numerical experiments show the following: (i) Only the airborne seeding enhances precipitation in stably stratified layer clouds. Seeding can reduce or enhance precipitation in convective clouds. AgI seeding can significantly affect the spatial distribution of the surface precipitation in orographic clouds. (ii) The positive seeding effect is primarily due to additional diffusional growth of AgI-nucleated ice crystals in layer clouds. In convective clouds, seeding-induced changes of both diffusion and riming processes determine the seeding effect. (iii) The seeding effect is inversely related to the natural precipitation efficiency. (iv) Bulk seeding parameterization is adequate to simulate AgI seeding impacts on wintertime orographic clouds. More uncertainties of ground-seeding effects are found between bulk and bin simulations.

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Lulin Xue, Amit Teller, Roy Rasmussen, Istvan Geresdi, and Zaitao Pan

Abstract

This study evaluates the possible impact of aerosol solubility and regeneration on warm-phase orographic clouds and precipitation. The sensitivity evaluation is performed by simulating cloud formation over two identical 2D idealized mountains using a detailed bin microphysical scheme implemented into the Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF) version 3. The dynamics, thermodynamics, topography, and microphysical pathways were designed to produce precipitating clouds in a linear hydrostatic mountain wave regime. The cloud over the second mountain is affected by regenerated aerosols advected from the cloud over the first mountain. Effects of aerosol solubility and regeneration were investigated with surface relative humidity of 95% and 85% for both clean and polluted background aerosol concentrations.

Among the findings are the following: 1) The total number of cloud drops decreases as the aerosol solubility decreases, and the impacts of aerosol solubility on cloud drops and precipitation are more significant in polluted clouds than in clean clouds. 2) Aerosol regeneration increases cloud drops and reduces the precipitation by 2%–80% in clouds over the second mountain. Regenerated aerosol particles replenish one-third to two-thirds of the missing particles when regeneration is not considered. 3) Different size distributions of regenerated aerosol particles have negligible effect on clouds and precipitation except for polluted clouds with high aerosol solubility. 4) When the solubility of initial aerosol particles decreases with an increasing size of aerosol particles, the modified solubility of regenerated aerosol particles increases precipitation over the second mountain.

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István Geresdi, Lulin Xue, Noémi Sarkadi, and Roy Rasmussen

Abstract

The University of Pécs and NCAR Bin (UPNB) microphysical scheme was implemented into the mesoscale Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) Model that was used to study the impact of silver iodide (AgI) seeding on precipitation formation in winter orographic clouds. Four different experimental units were chosen from the Wyoming Weather Modification Pilot Project to simulate the seeding effect. The results of the numerical experiments show the following: (i) Comparisons with the soundings, snow gauges, and microwave radiometer data indicate that the three-dimensional simulations with detailed microphysics reasonably represent both the dynamics and the microphysics of real clouds. (ii) The dispersion of the AgI particles from the simulated ground-based seeding was effective because of turbulent mixing. (iii) In the investigated cases (surface temperature is less than 0°C), surface precipitation and precipitation efficiency show low susceptibility to the concentrations of cloud condensation nuclei and natural ice nucleating particles. (iv) If the available liquid water content promotes the enhancement of the number of snowflakes by diffusional growth, the surface precipitation can be increased by more than 5%. A novel parameter relevant to orographic clouds, horizontally integrated liquid water path (LWP), was evaluated to find the relation between seeding efficiency and liquid water content. The impact of seeding is negligible if the horizontal LWP is less than 0.1 mm and is apparent if the horizontal LWP is larger than 1 mm, as based on the cases investigated in this study.

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Lulin Xue, Amit Teller, Roy Rasmussen, Istvan Geresdi, Zaitao Pan, and Xiaodong Liu

Abstract

A detailed bin aerosol-microphysics scheme has been implemented into the Weather Research and Forecast Model to investigate the effects of aerosol solubility and regeneration on mixed-phase orographic clouds and precipitation. Two-dimensional simulations of idealized moist flow over two identical bell-shaped mountains were carried out using different combinations of aerosol regeneration, solubility, loading, ice nucleation parameterizations, and humidity. The results showed the following. 1) Pollution and regenerated aerosols suppress the riming process in mixed-phase clouds by narrowing the drop spectrum. In general, the lower the aerosol solubility, the broader the drop spectrum and thus the higher the riming rate. When the solubility of initial aerosol increases with an increasing size of aerosol particles, the modified solubility of regenerated aerosols reduces precipitation. 2) The qualitative effects of aerosol solubility and regeneration on mixed-phase orographic clouds and precipitation are not affected by different ice nucleation parameterizations. 3) The impacts of aerosol properties on rain are similar in both warm- and mixed-phase clouds. Aerosols exert weaker impact on snow and stronger impact on graupel compared to rain as graupel production is strongly affected by riming. 4) Precipitation of both warm- and mixed-phase clouds is most sensitive to aerosol regeneration, then to aerosol solubility, and last to modified solubility of regenerated aerosol; however, the precipitation amount is mainly controlled by humidity and aerosol loading.

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Roy M. Rasmussen, István Geresdi, Greg Thompson, Kevin Manning, and Eli Karplus

Abstract

This study evaluates the role of 1) low cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) conditions and 2) preferred radiative cooling of large cloud drops as compared to small cloud drops, on cloud droplet spectral broadening and subsequent freezing drizzle formation in stably stratified layer clouds. In addition, the sensitivity of freezing drizzle formation to ice initiation is evaluated. The evaluation is performed by simulating cloud formation over a two-dimensional idealized mountain using a detailed microphysical scheme implemented into the National Center for Atmospheric Research–Pennsylvania State University Mesoscale Model version 5. The height and width of the two-dimensional mountain were designed to produce an updraft pattern with extent and magnitude similar to documented freezing drizzle cases. The results of the model simulations were compared to observations and good agreement was found.

The key results of this study are 1) low CCN concentrations lead to rapid formation of freezing drizzle. This occurs due to the broad cloud droplet size distribution formed throughout the cloud in this situation, allowing for rapid broadening of the spectra to the point at which the collision–coalescence process is initiated. 2) Continental clouds can produce freezing drizzle given sufficient depth and time. 3) Radiative cooling of the cloud droplets near cloud top can be effective in broadening an initially continental droplet spectrum toward that of a maritime cloud droplet size distribution. 4) Any mechanism that only broadens the cloud droplet spectra near cloud top, such as radiative cooling, may not act over a sufficiently broad volume of the cloud to produce significant amounts of freezing drizzle. 5) Low ice-crystal concentrations (<0.08 L−1) in the region of freezing drizzle formation is a necessary condition for drizzle formation (from both model and observations). 6) Ice nuclei depletion is a necessary requirement for the formation of freezing drizzle. 7) The maximum cloud water mixing ratio and threshold amount for the onset of drizzle in stably stratified clouds was shown to depend strongly on the CCN concentration. 8) A key factor controlling the formation of freezing drizzle in stratified clouds is the lifetime of the mesoscale and synoptic conditions and the thickness and length of the cloud.

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Zachary J. Lebo, Ben J. Shipway, Jiwen Fan, Istvan Geresdi, Adrian Hill, Annette Miltenberger, Hugh Morrison, Phil Rosenberg, Adam Varble, and Lulin Xue
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Lulin Xue, Jiwen Fan, Zachary J. Lebo, Wei Wu, Hugh Morrison, Wojciech W. Grabowski, Xia Chu, István Geresdi, Kirk North, Ronald Stenz, Yang Gao, Xiaofeng Lou, Aaron Bansemer, Andrew J. Heymsfield, Greg M. McFarquhar, and Roy M. Rasmussen

Abstract

The squall-line event on 20 May 2011, during the Midlatitude Continental Convective Clouds (MC3E) field campaign has been simulated by three bin (spectral) microphysics schemes coupled into the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model. Semi-idealized three-dimensional simulations driven by temperature and moisture profiles acquired by a radiosonde released in the preconvection environment at 1200 UTC in Morris, Oklahoma, show that each scheme produced a squall line with features broadly consistent with the observed storm characteristics. However, substantial differences in the details of the simulated dynamic and thermodynamic structure are evident. These differences are attributed to different algorithms and numerical representations of microphysical processes, assumptions of the hydrometeor processes and properties, especially ice particle mass, density, and terminal velocity relationships with size, and the resulting interactions between the microphysics, cold pool, and dynamics. This study shows that different bin microphysics schemes, designed to be conceptually more realistic and thus arguably more accurate than bulk microphysics schemes, still simulate a wide spread of microphysical, thermodynamic, and dynamic characteristics of a squall line, qualitatively similar to the spread of squall-line characteristics using various bulk schemes. Future work may focus on improving the representation of ice particle properties in bin schemes to reduce this uncertainty and using the similar assumptions for all schemes to isolate the impact of physics from numerics.

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