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Laura D. Fowler and David A. Randall

Abstract

The inclusion of cloud microphysical processes in general circulation models makes it possible to study the multiple interactions among clouds, the hydrological cycle, and radiation. The gaps between the temporal and spatial scales at which such cloud microphysical processes work and those at which general circulation models presently function force climate modelers to crudely parameterize and simplify the various interactions among the different water species (namely, water vapor, cloud water, cloud ice, rain, and snow) and to use adjustable parameters to which large-scale models can be highly sensitive. Accordingly, the authors have investigated the sensitivity of the climate, simulated with the Colorado State University general circulation model, to various aspects of the parameterization of cloud microphysical processes and its interactions with the cumulus convection and radiative transfer parameterizations.

The results of 120-day sensitivity experiments corresponding to perpetual January conditions have been compared with those of a control simulation in order to 1 ) determine the importance of advecting cloud water, cloud ice, rain, and snow at the temporal and spatial scale resolutions presently used in the model; 2) study the importance of the formation of extended stratiform anvils at the tops of cumulus towers, 3) analyze the role of mixed-phase clouds in determining the partitioning among cloud water, cloud ice, rain, and snow and, hence, their impacts on the simulated cloud optical properties; 4) evaluate the sensitivity of the atmospheric moisture budget and precipitation rates to a change in the fall velocities of rain and snow; 5) determine the model's sensitivity to the prescribed thresholds of autoconversion of cloud water to rain and cloud ice to snow; and 6) study the impact of the collection of supercooled cloud water by snow, as well as accounting for the cloud optical properties of snow.

Results are presented in terms of 30-day mean differences between the sensitivity experiments and control run. The authors find that three-dimensional advection of the water species has little influence on their geographical distributions and globally averaged amounts. The simulated climate remains unchanged when detrained condensed water at the tops of cumulus towers is used as a source of rain and snow rather than as a source of cloud water and cloud ice. In contrast, instantaneously removing cloud water and cloud ice detrained at the tops of cumulus towers in the form of precipitation yields a strong drying of the atmosphere and a significant reduction in the size of the anvils. Altering the partitioning between cloud ice and supercooled cloud water produces significant changes in the vertical distributions of the cloud optical depth and effective cloud fraction, hence producing significant variations in the top-of-the-atmosphere longwave and shortwave cloud radiative forcings. Increasing the fall speeds of rain and snow leads to a decrease in cloudiness and an increase in stratiform rainfall. Increasing the thresholds for autoconversion of cloud water to rain and cloud ice to snow yields a significant increase in middle- and high-level clouds and a reduction of the cumulus precipitation rate. The collection of supercooled cloud water by snow appeared to be an important microphysical process for mixed-phase clouds. Finally, the optical effects of snow have little impact upon the top-of-the-atmosphere radiation budget.

This study illustrates the need for in-depth analysis of the spatial and temporal scale dependence of the different microphysical parameters of the cloud parameterizations used in general circulation models.

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Laura D. Fowler and David A. Randall

Abstract

In the Colorado State University general circulation model, cumulus detrainment of cloud water and cloud ice has been, up to now, the only direct coupling between convective and large-scale condensation processes. This one-way interaction from the convective to the large-scale environment parameterizes, in a highly simplified manner, the growth of anvils spreading horizontally at the tops of narrow cumulus updrafts. The reverse interaction from the large-scale to the convective updrafts, through which large-scale cloud water and cloud ice can affect microphysical processes occurring in individual convective updrafts, is missing. In addition, the effects of compensating subsidence on cloud water and cloud ice are not taken into account.

A new parameterization of convection, called “EAUCUP,” has been developed, in which large-scale water vapor, cloud water, and cloud ice are allowed to enter the sides of the convective updrafts and can be lifted to the tops of the clouds. As the various water species are lifted, cloud microphysical processes take place, removing excess cloud water and cloud ice in the form of rain and snow. The partitioning of condensed vapor between cloud water and cloud ice, and between rain and snow, is based on temperature. The effects of compensating subsidence on the large-scale water vapor, cloud water, and cloud ice are computed separately. Convective rain is assumed to fall instantaneously to the surface. Three treatments of the convective snow are tested: 1) assuming that all snow is detrained at the tops of convective updrafts, 2) assuming that all snow falls outside of the updrafts and may evaporate, and 3) assuming that snow falls entirely inside the updrafts and melts to form rain.

Including entrainment of large-scale cloud water and cloud ice inside the updrafts, large-scale compensating subsidence unifies the parameterizations of large-scale cloud microphysics and convection, but have a lesser impact than the treatment of convective snow on the simulated climate. Differences between the three alternate treatments of convective snow are discussed. Emphasis is on the change in the convective, large-scale, and radiative tendencies of temperature, and change in the convective and large-scale tendencies of water vapor, cloud water, cloud ice, and snow. Below the stratiform anvils, the change in latent heating due to the change in both convective and large-scale heatings contributes a major part to the differences in diabatic heating among the three simulations. Above the stratiform anvils, differences in the diabatic heating between the three simulations result primarily because of differences in the longwave radiative cooling. In particular, detraining convective snow at the tops of convective updrafts yields a strong increase in the longwave radiative cooling associated with increased upper-tropospheric cloudiness. The simulated climate is wetter and colder when convective snow is detrained at the tops of the updrafts than when it is detrained on the sides of the updrafts or when it falls entirely inside the updrafts. This result highlights the importance of the treatment of the ice phase and associated precipitation in the convective cloud models used in cumulus parameterizations.

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Laura D. Fowler and David A. Randall

Abstract

A prognostic equation for the mass of condensate associated with large-scale cloudiness introduces a direct coupling between the atmospheric moisture budget and the radiation budget through interactive cloud amounts and cloud optical properties. We have compared the cloudiness, the top-of-the-atmosphere and surface radiation budgets, the radiative forcing of clouds, and the atmospheric general circulation simulated with the Colorado State University general circulation model with and without such a prognostic cloud parameterization. In the EAULIQ run, the radiative effects of cloud water, cloud ice, and snow are considered; those of rain are omitted. The cloud optical depth and cloud infrared emissivity depend on the cloud water, cloud ice, and snow paths predicted by a bulk cloud microphysics parameterization. In the CONTROL run, a conventional large-scale condensation scheme is used. Cloud optical properties depend on the mean cloud temperatures. Results are presented in terms of January and July means.

Comparisons with data from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project and the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment show that EAULIQ yields improved simulations of the geographical distributions of the simulated cloudiness, the top-of-the-atmosphere radiation budget, and the longwave and shortwave cloud radiative forcings. Differences between EAULIQ and CONTROL are largest in the Tropics and are mostly due to a decrease, in the EAULIQ run, in the amount and optical thickness of upper-tropospheric clouds. In particular, the cold bias in the outgoing longwave radiation and the overestimation of the planetary albedo obtained in the CONTROL run over the tropical convective regions are substantially reduced. Differences in the radiative and latent heating rates between EAULIQ and CONTROL lead to some improvements in the atmospheric general circulation simulated by EAULIQ when compared against statistics on the observed circulation assembled by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. When compared to CONTROL, EAULIQ yields a warmer troposphere except below 8 km between 3°N and 30°S. The mean meridional circulation is significantly weakened in the EAULIQ run.

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Xin Lin, David A. Randall, and Laura D. Fowler

Abstract

The simulated diurnal cycle is in many ways an ideal test bed for new physical parameterizations. The purpose of this paper is to compare observations from the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission, the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment, the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project, the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System Experiment, and the Anglo-Brazilian Amazonian Climate Observation Study with the diurnal variability of the Amazonian hydrologic cycle and radiative energy budget as simulated by the Colorado State University general circulation model, and to evaluate improvements and deficiencies of the model physics. The model uses a prognostic cumulus kinetic energy (CKE) to relax the quasi-equilibrium closure of the Arakawa–Schubert cumulus parameterization. A parameter, α, is used to relate the CKE to the cumulus mass flux. This parameter is expected to vary with cloud depth, mean shear, and the level of convective activity, but up to now a single constant value for all cloud types has been used. The results of the present study show clearly that this approach cannot yield realistic simulations of both the diurnal cycle and the monthly mean climate state. Improved results are obtained using a version of the model in which α is permitted to vary with cloud depth.

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Laura D. Fowler, David A. Randall, and Steven A. Rutledge

Abstract

Microphysical processes responsible for the formation and dissipation of water and ice clouds have been incorporated into the Colorado State University General Circulation Model in order to 1) yield a more physically based representation of the components of the atmospheric moisture budget, 2) link the distribution and optical properties of the model-generated clouds to the predicted cloud water and ice amounts, and 3) produce more realistic simulations of cloudiness and the earth's radiation budget.

The bulk cloud microphysics scheme encompasses five prognostic variables for the mass of water vapor, cloud water, cloud ice, rain, and snow. Graupel and hail are neglected. Cloud water and cloud ice are predicted to form through large-scale condensation and deposition processes and also through detrainment at the tops of cumulus towers. The production of rain and snow occur through autoconversion of cloud water and cloud ice. Rain drops falling through clouds can grow by collecting cloud water, and falling snow can collect both cloud water and cloud ice. These collection processes are formulated using the continuous collection equation. Evaporation of cloud water, cloud ice, rain, and snow are allowed in subsaturated layers. Melting and freezing are included. We also provide a coupling between convective clouds and stratiform anvils through the detrainment of cloud water and cloud ice at the tops of cumulus towers. Interactive cloud optical properties provide the link between the cloud n-microphysics and radiation parameterizations; the optical depths and infrared emissivities of large-scale stratiform clouds are parameterized in terms of the cloud water and cloud ice paths.

Two annual-cycle numerical simulations are performed to assess the impact of cloud microphysics on the hydrological cycle. In the “EAULIQ” run, large-scale moist processes and cloud optical properties are driven by the bulk cloud microphysics parameterization. In the “CONTROL” run, condensed water is immediately removed from the atmosphere in the form of rain, which may evaporate as it falls through subsaturated layers. Stratiform ice clouds are not considered in CONTROL. When clouds are present, cloud optical depths and cloud infrared emissivities are dependent on the mean cloud temperatures.

Results are presented in terms of January and July monthly averages. Emphasis is placed on the spatial distributions of cloud water, cloud ice, rain, and snow produced by the cloud microphysics scheme. In EAULIQ, cloud water and cloud ice are more abundant in the middle latitudes than in the Tropics, suggesting that large-scale condensation contributes a major part to the production of condensed water. Comparisons between the simulated vertically integrated cloud water and die columnar cloud water retrievals from satellite microwave measurements over the global oceans indicate a reasonable agreement. Interactions between the cloud micro- physics and cumulus convection parameterizations lead to smaller, more realistic precipitation rates. In particular, the cumulus precipitation rate is strongly reduced when compared to CONTROL.

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Laura D. Fowler, William C. Skamarock, Georg A. Grell, Saulo R. Freitas, and Michael G. Duda

Abstract

The authors implemented the Grell–Freitas (GF) parameterization of convection in which the cloud-base mass flux varies quadratically as a function of the convective updraft fraction in the global nonhydrostatic Model for Prediction Across Scales (MPAS). They evaluated the performance of GF using quasi-uniform meshes and a variable-resolution mesh centered over South America, the resolution of which varied between hydrostatic (50 km) and nonhydrostatic (3 km) scales. Four-day forecasts using a 50-km and a 15-km quasi-uniform mesh, initialized with GFS data for 0000 UTC 10 January 2014, reveal that MPAS overestimates precipitation in the tropics relative to the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis data. Results of 4-day forecasts using the variable-resolution mesh reveal that over the refined region of the mesh, GF performs as a precipitating shallow convective scheme, whereas over the coarse region of the mesh, GF acts as a conventional deep convective scheme. As horizontal resolution increases and subgrid-scale motions become increasingly resolved, the contribution of convective and grid-scale precipitation to the total precipitation decreases and increases, respectively. Probability density distributions of precipitation highlight a smooth transition in the partitioning between convective and grid-scale precipitation, including at gray-zone scales across the transition region between the coarsest and finest regions of the global mesh. Variable-resolution meshes spanning between hydrostatic and nonhydrostatic scales are shown to be ideal tools to evaluate the horizontal scale dependence of parameterized convective and grid-scale moist processes.

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Sang-Hun Park, William C. Skamarock, Joseph B. Klemp, Laura D. Fowler, and Michael G. Duda

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The hydrostatic and nonhydrostatic atmospheric solvers within the Model for Prediction Across Scales (MPAS) are tested using an extension of Jablonowski and Williamson baroclinic wave test case that includes moisture. This study uses the dry test case to verify the correctness of the solver formulation and coding by comparing results from the two different MPAS solvers and from the global version of the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting Model (ARW-WRF). A normal mode initialization is used in the Jablonowski and Williamson test, and the most unstable mode is found to be wavenumber 9. The three solvers produce very similar normal mode structures and nonlinear baroclinic wave evolutions. Solutions produced using MPAS variable-resolution meshes are quite similar to the results from the quasi-uniform mesh with equivalent resolution. Importantly, the small-scale flow features are better resolved in the fine-resolution region and there is no apparent wave distortion in the fine-to-coarse mesh transition region, thus demonstrating the potential value of MPAS for multiscale flow simulation.

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William C. Skamarock, Joseph B. Klemp, Michael G. Duda, Laura D. Fowler, Sang-Hun Park, and Todd D. Ringler

Abstract

The formulation of a fully compressible nonhydrostatic atmospheric model called the Model for Prediction Across Scales–Atmosphere (MPAS-A) is described. The solver is discretized using centroidal Voronoi meshes and a C-grid staggering of the prognostic variables, and it incorporates a split-explicit time-integration technique used in many existing nonhydrostatic meso- and cloud-scale models. MPAS can be applied to the globe, over limited areas of the globe, and on Cartesian planes. The Voronoi meshes are unstructured grids that permit variable horizontal resolution. These meshes allow for applications beyond uniform-resolution NWP and climate prediction, in particular allowing embedded high-resolution regions to be used for regional NWP and regional climate applications. The rationales for aspects of this formulation are discussed, and results from tests for nonhydrostatic flows on Cartesian planes and for large-scale flow on the sphere are presented. The results indicate that the solver is as accurate as existing nonhydrostatic solvers for nonhydrostatic-scale flows, and has accuracy comparable to existing global models using icosahedral (hexagonal) meshes for large-scale flows in idealized tests. Preliminary full-physics forecast results indicate that the solver formulation is robust and that the variable-resolution-mesh solutions are well resolved and exhibit no obvious problems in the mesh-transition zones.

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