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Hugh Morrison and Jason A. Milbrandt

Abstract

A method for the parameterization of ice-phase microphysics is proposed and used to develop a new bulk microphysics scheme. All ice-phase particles are represented by several physical properties that evolve freely in time and space. The scheme prognoses four ice mixing ratio variables, total mass, rime mass, rime volume, and number, allowing 4 degrees of freedom for representing the particle properties using a single category. This approach represents a significant departure from traditional microphysics schemes in which ice-phase hydrometeors are partitioned into various predefined categories (e.g., cloud ice, snow, and graupel) with prescribed characteristics. The liquid-phase component of the new scheme uses a standard two-moment, two-category approach.

The proposed method and a complete description of the new predicted particle properties (P3) scheme are provided. Results from idealized model simulations of a two-dimensional squall line are presented that illustrate overall behavior of the scheme. Despite its use of a single ice-phase category, the scheme simulates a realistically wide range of particle characteristics in different regions of the squall line, consistent with observed ice particles in real squall lines. Sensitivity tests show that both the prediction of the rime mass fraction and the rime density are important for the simulation of the squall-line structure and precipitation.

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Caroline Jouan and Jason A. Milbrandt

Abstract

Simulations of a well-observed squall line that occurred during the Midlatitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment (MC3E) were conducted using a mesoscale model with a horizontal grid spacing of 1 km to examine the importance of parameterized ice-phase processes to changes in concentrations of activated cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) in a detailed two-moment bulk microphysics scheme. Numerical experiments showed that the simulated squall-line structure was sensitive to changes in activated CCN concentration not only from the direct impacts on cloud droplet sizes and autoconversion rates, but also because of changes in the growth rates and spatial distribution of ice-phase condensate. A microphysical budget analysis highlighted the importance of graupel in rain production and the sensitivity of graupel growth rates on changes to CCN concentrations. Sensitivity tests on the level of detail in the representation of graupel, specifically the treatment of its bulk density and the number of prognostic moments, indicated that changes in the reflectivity and precipitation structure of the simulated storm due to changes in CCN were sensitive to the graupel parameterization. The results suggest that the proper representation of graupel and possibly other ice-phase categories in microphysics schemes may be crucial for correctly simulating the effects of changes to CCN concentrations for continental deep convective systems.

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Jason A. Milbrandt and Hugh Morrison

Abstract

A method to predict the bulk density of graupel ρg has been added to the two-moment Milbrandt–Yau bulk microphysics scheme. The simulation of graupel using the modified scheme is illustrated through idealized simulations of a mesoscale convective system using a 2D kinematic model with a prescribed flow field and different peak updraft speeds. To examine the relative impact of the various approaches to represent rimed ice, simulations were run for various graupel-only and graupel-plus-hail configurations.

Because of the direct feedback of ρg to terminal fall speeds, the modified scheme produces a much different spatial distribution of graupel, with more mass concentrated in the convective region resulting in changes to the surface precipitation at all locations. With a strong updraft, the model can now produce solid precipitation at the surface in the convective region without a separate hail category. It is shown that a single rimed-ice category is capable of representing a realistically wide range of graupel characteristics in various atmospheric conditions without the need for a priori parameter settings.

Sensitivity tests were conducted to examine various aspects of the scheme that affect the simulated ρg. Specific parameterizations pertaining to other hydrometeor categories now have a direct impact on the simulation of graupel, including the assumed aerosol distribution for droplet nucleation, which affects the drop sizes of both cloud and rain, and the mass–size relation for snow, which affects its density and hence the embryo density of graupel converted from snow due to riming.

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Agnieszka Barszcz, Jason A. Milbrandt, and Julie M. Thériault

Abstract

A freezing rain event, in which the Meteorological Centre of Canada’s 2.5-km numerical weather prediction system significantly underpredicted the quantity of freezing rain, is examined. The prediction system models precipitation types explicitly, directly from the Milbrandt–Yau microphysics scheme. It was determined that the freezing rain underprediction for this case was due primarily to excessive refreezing of rain, originating from melting snow and graupel, in and under the temperature inversion of the advancing warm front ultimately depleting the supply of rain reaching the surface. The refreezing was caused from excessive collisional freezing between rain and graupel. Sensitivity experiments were conducted to examine the effects of a temperature threshold for collisional freezing and on varying the values of the collection efficiencies between rain and ice-phase hydrometeors. It was shown that by reducing the rain–graupel collection efficiency and by imposing a temperature threshold of −5°C, above which collisional freezing is not permitted, excessive rain–graupel collection and graupel formation can be controlled in the microphysics scheme, leading to an improved simulation of freezing rain at the surface.

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Mélissa Cholette, Hugh Morrison, Jason A. Milbrandt, and Julie M. Thériault

Abstract

Bulk microphysics parameterizations that are used to represent clouds and precipitation usually allow only solid and liquid hydrometeors. Predicting the bulk liquid fraction on ice allows an explicit representation of mixed-phase particles and various precipitation types, such as wet snow and ice pellets. In this paper, an approach for the representation of the bulk liquid fraction into the predicted particle properties (P3) microphysics scheme is proposed and described. Solid-phase microphysical processes, such as melting and sublimation, have been modified to account for the liquid component. New processes, such as refreezing and condensation of the liquid portion of mixed-phase particles, have been added to the parameterization. Idealized simulations using a one-dimensional framework illustrate the overall behavior of the modified scheme. The proposed approach compares well to a Lagrangian benchmark model. Temperatures required for populations of ice crystals to melt completely also agree well with previous studies. The new processes of refreezing and condensation impact both the surface precipitation type and feedback between the temperature and the phase changes. Overall, prediction of the bulk liquid fraction allows an explicit description of new precipitation types, such as wet snow and ice pellets, and improves the representation of hydrometeor properties when the temperature is near 0°C.

Open access
Mélissa Cholette, Julie M. Thériault, Jason A. Milbrandt, and Hugh Morrison

Abstract

A prognostic equation for the liquid fraction of mixed-phase particles has been recently added to the Predicted Particle Properties (P3) bulk microphysics scheme. Mixed-phase particles are necessary to simulate key microphysical processes leading to various winter precipitation types, such as ice pellets and freezing rain. To illustrate the impacts of predicting the bulk liquid fraction, the 1998 North American Ice Storm is simulated using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model with the modified P3 scheme. It is found that simulating partial melting by predicting the bulk liquid fraction produces higher mass and number mixing ratios of rain. This leads to smaller rain sizes reaching the refreezing layer as well as a decrease in the freezing rain accumulation at the surface by up to 30% in some locations compared to when no liquid fraction is predicted. The increase in fall speed and density and decrease of particle diameter during partial melting combined with an improved representation of the refreezing process in the modified P3 leads to generally higher total solid surface precipitation rates than using the original P3 scheme. There is also an increase of solid precipitation in regions of ice pellet accumulation. Overall, the simulation of mixed-phase particles notably impacts the vertical and spatial distributions of precipitation properties.

Open access
Hugh Morrison, Anders A. Jensen, Jerry Y. Harrington, and Jason A. Milbrandt

Abstract

This paper discusses the advection of coupled hydrometeor quantities by air motion in atmospheric models. It is shown that any bulk property derived from a set of advected microphysical variables must meet certain conditions in order to be preserved during transport using linear or semilinear advection schemes when the property is initially uniform, with implications for physical consistency of the property. A new, efficient flux-based method for calculating hydrometeor advection, similar to vector transport applied previously in aerosol modeling, is also presented. In this method, called scaled flux vector transport (SFVT), lead scalars (the mass mixing ratios) are advected using the host model’s unmodified advection scheme and secondary scalars (e.g., number mixing ratios) are advected by appropriately scaling the lead scalar fluxes. By design, SFVT retains linear relationships between the advected scalars. Analytic tests reveal that mean errors using SFVT are similar to those incurred using the traditional approach of separately advecting each variable. SFVT is applied to the multimoment predicted particle properties bulk microphysics scheme in idealized two-dimensional squall-line simulations using the Weather Research and Forecasting Model. The computational cost in total wall clock run time is reduced by 10%–15% while producing solutions similar to the traditional approach. Thus, SFVT can reduce the overall cost of using multimoment bulk microphysics schemes, making them competitive with simpler schemes having fewer prognostic variables.

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Frédérick Chosson, Paul A. Vaillancourt, Jason A. Milbrandt, M. K. Yau, and Ayrton Zadra

Abstract

Two-moment multiclass microphysics schemes are very promising tools to be used in high-resolution NWP models. However, they must be adapted for coarser resolutions. Here, a twofold solution is proposed—namely, a simple representation of subgrid cloud and precipitation fraction—as well as a microphysical sub-time-stepping method. The scheme is easy to implement, allows supersaturation in ice cloud, and exhibits flexibility for adoption across model grid spacing. It is implemented in the Milbrandt and Yau two-moment microphysics scheme with prognostic precipitation in the context of a simple 1D kinematic model as well as a mesoscale NWP model [the Canadian regional Global Environmental Multiscale model (GEM)]. Sensitivity tests were performed and the results highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of the two-moment multiclass cloud scheme relative to the classical Sundqvist scheme. The respective roles of subgrid cloud fraction, precipitation fraction, and time splitting were also studied. When compared to the Cloud–Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO)/CloudSat-retrieved cloud mask, cloud fraction, and ice water content, it is found that the proposed solutions significantly improve the behavior of the Milbrandt and Yau microphysics scheme at the regional NWP scale, suggesting that the subgrid cloud and precipitation fraction technique can be used across model resolutions.

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Anders A. Jensen, Jerry Y. Harrington, Hugh Morrison, and Jason A. Milbrandt

Abstract

A novel bulk microphysics scheme that predicts the evolution of ice properties, including aspect ratio (shape), mass, number, size, and density is described, tested, and demonstrated. The scheme is named the Ice-Spheroids Habit Model with Aspect-Ratio Evolution (ISHMAEL). Ice is modeled as spheroids and is nucleated as one of two species depending on nucleation temperature. Microphysical process rates determine how shape and other ice properties evolve. A third aggregate species is also employed, diversifying ice properties in the model. Tests of ice shape evolution during vapor growth and riming are verified against wind tunnel data, revealing that the model captures habit-dependent riming and its effect on fall speed. Lagrangian parcel studies demonstrate that the bulk model captures ice property evolution during riming and melting compared with a bin model. Finally, the capabilities of ISHMAEL are shown in a 2D kinematic framework with a simple updraft. A direct result of predicting ice shape evolution is that various states of ice from unrimed to lightly rimed to densely rimed can be modeled without converting ice mass between predefined ice categories (e.g., snow and graupel). This leads to a different spatial precipitation distribution compared with the traditional method of separating snow and graupel and converting between the two categories, because ice in ISHMAEL sorts in physical space based on the amount of rime, which controls the thickness and therefore fall speed. Predicting these various states of rimed ice leads to a reduction in vapor growth rate and an increase in riming rate in a simple updraft compared with the traditional approach.

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Hugh Morrison, Jason A. Milbrandt, George H. Bryan, Kyoko Ikeda, Sarah A. Tessendorf, and Gregory Thompson

Abstract

A new microphysics scheme has been developed based on the prediction of bulk particle properties for a single ice-phase category, in contrast to the traditional approach of separating ice into various predefined species (e.g., cloud ice, snow, and graupel). In this paper, the new predicted particle properties (P3) scheme, described in Part I of this series, is tested in three-dimensional simulations using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model for two contrasting well-observed cases: a midlatitude squall line and winter orographic precipitation. Results are also compared with simulations using other schemes in WRF. Simulations with P3 can produce a wide variety of particle characteristics despite having only one free ice-phase category. For the squall line, it produces dense, fast-falling, hail-like ice near convective updraft cores and lower-density, slower-falling ice elsewhere. Sensitivity tests show that this is critical for simulating high precipitation rates observed along the leading edge of the storm. In contrast, schemes that represent rimed ice as graupel, with lower fall speeds than hail, produce lower peak precipitation rates and wider, less distinct, and less realistic regions of high convective reflectivity. For the orographic precipitation case, P3 produces areas of relatively fast-falling ice with characteristics of rimed snow and low- to medium-density graupel on the windward slope. This leads to less precipitation on leeward slopes and more on windward slopes compared to the other schemes that produce large amounts of snow relative to graupel (with generally the opposite for schemes with significant graupel relative to snow). Overall, the new scheme produces reasonable results for a reduced computational cost.

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