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Jason A. Milbrandt, Hugh Morrison, Daniel T. Dawson II, and Marco Paukert


In the original Predicted Particle Properties (P3) bulk microphysics scheme, all ice-phase hydrometeors are represented by one or more “free” ice categories, where the physical properties evolve smoothly through changes to the four prognostic variables (per category), and with a two-moment representation of the particle size distribution. As such, the spectral dispersion cannot evolve independently, which thus results in limitations in representation of ice—in particular, hail—due to necessary constraints in the scheme to prevent excessive gravitational size sorting. To overcome this, P3 has been modified to include a three-moment representation of the size distribution of each ice category through the addition of a fifth prognostic variable, the sixth moment of the size distribution. The details of the three-moment ice parameterization in P3 are provided. The behavior of the modified scheme, with the single-ice-category configuration, is illustrated through simulations in a simple 1D kinematic model framework as well as with near large-eddy-resolving (250-m grid spacing) 3D simulations of a hail-producing supercell. It is shown that the three-moment ice configuration controls size sorting in a physically based way and leads to an improved capacity to simulate large, heavily rimed ice (hail), including mean and maximum sizes and reflectivity, and thus an overall improvement in the representation of ice-phase particles in the P3 scheme.

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