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Shaocheng Xie, Xiaohong Liu, Chuanfeng Zhao, and Yuying Zhang

Abstract

Sensitivity of Arctic clouds and radiation in the Community Atmospheric Model, version 5, to the ice nucleation process is examined by testing a new physically based ice nucleation scheme that links the variation of ice nuclei (IN) number concentration to aerosol properties. The default scheme parameterizes the IN concentration simply as a function of ice supersaturation. The new scheme leads to a significant reduction in simulated IN concentration at all latitudes while changes in cloud amounts and properties are mainly seen at high- and midlatitude storm tracks. In the Arctic, there is a considerable increase in midlevel clouds and a decrease in low-level clouds, which result from the complex interaction among the cloud macrophysics, microphysics, and large-scale environment. The smaller IN concentrations result in an increase in liquid water path and a decrease in ice water path caused by the slowdown of the Bergeron–Findeisen process in mixed-phase clouds. Overall, there is an increase in the optical depth of Arctic clouds, which leads to a stronger cloud radiative forcing (net cooling) at the top of the atmosphere. The comparison with satellite data shows that the new scheme slightly improves low-level cloud simulations over most of the Arctic but produces too many midlevel clouds. Considerable improvements are seen in the simulated low-level clouds and their properties when compared with Arctic ground-based measurements. Issues with the observations and the model–observation comparison in the Arctic region are discussed.

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Minghua Zhang, Richard C. J. Somerville, and Shaocheng Xie
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Yunyan Zhang, Stephen A. Klein, Jiwen Fan, Arunchandra S. Chandra, Pavlos Kollias, Shaocheng Xie, and Shuaiqi Tang

Abstract

Based on long-term observations by the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program at its Southern Great Plains site, a new composite case of continental shallow cumulus (ShCu) convection is constructed for large-eddy simulations (LES) and single-column models. The case represents a typical daytime nonprecipitating ShCu whose formation and dissipation are driven by the local atmospheric conditions and land surface forcing and are not influenced by synoptic weather events. The case includes early morning initial profiles of temperature and moisture with a residual layer; diurnally varying sensible and latent heat fluxes, which represent a domain average over different land surface types; simplified large-scale horizontal advective tendencies and subsidence; and horizontal winds with prevailing direction and average speed. Observed composite cloud statistics are provided for model evaluation.

The observed diurnal cycle is well reproduced by LES; however, the cloud amount, liquid water path, and shortwave radiative effect are generally underestimated. LES are compared between simulations with an all-or-nothing bulk microphysics and a spectral bin microphysics. The latter shows improved agreement with observations in the total cloud cover and the amount of clouds with depths greater than 300 m. When compared with radar retrievals of in-cloud air motion, LES produce comparable downdraft vertical velocities, but a larger updraft area, velocity, and updraft mass flux. Both observations and LES show a significantly larger in-cloud downdraft fraction and downdraft mass flux than marine ShCu.

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Shaocheng Xie, Hsi-Yen Ma, James S. Boyle, Stephen A. Klein, and Yuying Zhang

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The correspondence between short- and long-time-scale systematic errors in the Community Atmospheric Model, version 4 (CAM4) and version 5 (CAM5), is systematically examined. The analysis is based on the annual-mean data constructed from long-term “free running” simulations and short-range hindcasts. The hindcasts are initialized every day with the ECMWF analysis for the Year(s) of Tropical Convection. It has been found that most systematic errors, particularly those associated with moist processes, are apparent in day 2 hindcasts. These errors steadily grow with the hindcast lead time and typically saturate after five days with amplitudes comparable to the climate errors. Examples include the excessive precipitation in much of the tropics and the overestimate of net shortwave absorbed radiation in the stratocumulus cloud decks over the eastern subtropical oceans and the Southern Ocean at about 60°S. This suggests that these errors are likely the result of model parameterization errors as the large-scale flow remains close to observed in the first few days of the hindcasts. In contrast, other climate errors are present in the hindcasts, but with amplitudes that are significantly smaller than and do not approach their climate errors during the 6-day hindcasts. These include the cold biases in the lower stratosphere, the unrealistic double–intertropical convergence zone pattern in the simulated precipitation, and an annular mode bias in extratropical sea level pressure. This indicates that these biases could be related to slower processes such as radiative and chemical processes, which are important in the lower stratosphere, or the result of poor interactions of the parameterized physics with the large-scale flow.

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Shaocheng Xie, Timothy Hume, Christian Jakob, Stephen A. Klein, Renata B. McCoy, and Minghua Zhang

Abstract

This study documents the characteristics of the large-scale structures and diabatic heating and drying profiles observed during the Tropical Warm Pool–International Cloud Experiment (TWP-ICE), which was conducted in January–February 2006 in Darwin during the northern Australian monsoon season. The examined profiles exhibit significant variations between four distinct synoptic regimes that were observed during the experiment. The active monsoon period is characterized by strong upward motion and large advective cooling and moistening throughout the entire troposphere, while the suppressed and clear periods are dominated by moderate midlevel subsidence and significant low- to midlevel drying through horizontal advection. The midlevel subsidence and horizontal dry advection are largely responsible for the dry midtroposphere observed during the suppressed period and limit the growth of clouds to low levels. During the break period, upward motion and advective cooling and moistening located primarily at midlevels dominate together with weak advective warming and drying (mainly from horizontal advection) at low levels. The variations of the diabatic heating and drying profiles with the different regimes are closely associated with differences in the large-scale structures, cloud types, and rainfall rates between the regimes. Strong diabatic heating and drying are seen throughout the troposphere during the active monsoon period while they are moderate and only occur above 700 hPa during the break period. The diabatic heating and drying tend to have their maxima at low levels during the suppressed periods. The diurnal variations of these structures between monsoon systems, continental/coastal, and tropical inland-initiated convective systems are also examined.

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Aaron D. Kennedy, Xiquan Dong, Baike Xi, Shaocheng Xie, Yunyan Zhang, and Junye Chen

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Atmospheric states from the Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) and the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) are compared with data from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) site, including the ARM continuous forcing product and Cloud Modeling Best Estimate (CMBE) soundings, during the period 1999–2001 to understand their validity for single-column model (SCM) and cloud-resolving model (CRM) forcing datasets. Cloud fraction, precipitation, and radiation information are also compared to determine what errors exist within these reanalyses. For the atmospheric state, ARM continuous forcing and the reanalyses have good agreement with the CMBE sounding information, with biases generally within 0.5 K for temperature, 0.5 m s−1 for wind, and 5% for relative humidity. Larger disagreements occur in the upper troposphere (p < 300 hPa) for temperature, humidity, and zonal wind, and in the boundary layer (p > 800 hPa) for meridional wind and humidity. In these regions, larger errors may exist in derived forcing products. Significant differences exist for vertical pressure velocity, with the largest biases occurring during the spring upwelling and summer downwelling periods. Although NARR and MERRA share many resemblances to each other, ARM outperforms these reanalyses in terms of correlation with cloud fraction. Because the ARM forcing is constrained by observed precipitation that gives the adequate mass, heat, and moisture budgets, much of the precipitation (specifically during the late spring/early summer) is caused by smaller-scale forcing that is not captured by the reanalyses. While reanalysis-based forcing appears to be feasible for the majority of the year at this location, it may have limited usage during the late spring and early summer, when convection is common at the ARM SGP site. Both NARR and MERRA capture the seasonal variation of cloud fractions (CFs) observed by ARM radar–lidar and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) with high correlations (0.92–0.78) but with negative biases of 14% and 3%, respectively. Compared to the ARM observations, MERRA shows better agreement for both shortwave (SW) and longwave (LW) fluxes except for LW-down (due to a negative bias in water vapor): NARR has significant positive bias for SW-down and negative bias for LW-down under clear-sky and all-sky conditions. The NARR biases result from a combination of too few clouds and a lack of sufficient extinction by aerosols and water vapor in the atmospheric column. The results presented here represent only one location for a limited period, and more comparisons at different locations and longer periods are needed.

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Shuaiqi Tang, Peter Gleckler, Shaocheng Xie, Jiwoo Lee, Min-Seop Ahn, Curt Covey, and Chengzhu Zhang

Abstract

The diurnal and semi-diurnal cycle of precipitation simulated from CMIP6 models during 1996-2005 are evaluated globally between 60°S and 60°N, as well as at ten selected locations representing three categories of diurnal cycle of precipitation: (1) afternoon precipitation over land, (2) early morning precipitation over ocean, and (3) nocturnal precipitation over land. Three satellite-based and two ground-based rainfall products are used to evaluate the climate models. Globally, the ensemble mean of CMIP6 models shows a diurnal phase of 3 to 4 hours earlier over land and 1 to 2 hours earlier over ocean, when compared with the latest satellite products. These biases are in line with what were found in previous versions of climate models but reduced compared to the CMIP5 ensemble mean. Analysis at the selected locations complimented with in-situ measurements further reinforces these results. Several CMIP6 models have shown a significant improvement in the diurnal cycle of precipitation compared to their CMIP5 counterparts, notably on delaying afternoon precipitation over land. This can be attributed to the use of more sophisticated convective parameterizations. Most models are still unable to capture the nocturnal peak associated with elevated convection and propagating mesoscale convective systems, with a few exceptions that allow convection to be initiated above the boundary layer to capture nocturnal elevated convection. We also quantify an encouraging consistency between the satellite- and ground-based precipitation measurements despite differing spatiotemporal resolutions and sampling periods, which provides confidence in using them to evaluate the diurnal and semi-diurnal cycle of precipitation in climate models.

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Xiping Zeng, Wei-Kuo Tao, Toshihisa Matsui, Shaocheng Xie, Stephen Lang, Minghua Zhang, David O’C Starr, and Xiaowen Li

Abstract

The ice crystal enhancement (IE) factor, defined as the ratio of the ice crystal to ice nuclei (IN) number concentrations for any particular cloud condition, is needed to quantify the contribution of changes in IN to global warming. However, the ensemble characteristics of IE are still unclear. In this paper, a representation of the IE factor is incorporated into a three-ice-category microphysical scheme for use in long-term cloud-resolving model (CRM) simulations. Model results are compared with remote sensing observations, which suggest that, absent a physically based consideration of how IE comes about, the IE factor in tropical clouds is about 103 times larger than that in midlatitudinal ones. This significant difference in IE between the tropics and middle latitudes is consistent with the observation of stronger entrainment and detrainment in the tropics. In addition, the difference also suggests that cloud microphysical parameterizations depend on spatial resolution (or subgrid turbulence parameterizations within CRMs).

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Yanluan Lin, Ming Zhao, Yi Ming, Jean-Christophe Golaz, Leo J. Donner, Stephen A. Klein, V. Ramaswamy, and Shaocheng Xie

Abstract

A set of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) Atmospheric Model version 2 (AM2) sensitivity simulations by varying an entrainment threshold rate to control deep convection occurrence are used to investigate how cumulus parameterization impacts tropical cloud and precipitation characteristics. In the tropics, model convective precipitation (CP) is frequent and light, while large-scale precipitation (LSP) is intermittent and strong. With deep convection inhibited, CP decreases significantly over land and LSP increases prominently over ocean. This results in an overall redistribution of precipitation from land to ocean. A composite analysis reveals that cloud fraction (low and middle) and cloud condensate associated with LSP are substantially larger than those associated with CP. With about the same total precipitation and precipitation frequency distribution over the tropics, simulations having greater LSP fraction tend to have larger cloud condensate and low and middle cloud fraction.

Simulations having a greater LSP fraction tend to be drier and colder in the upper troposphere. The induced unstable stratification supports strong transient wind perturbations and LSP. Greater LSP also contributes to greater intraseasonal (20–100 days) precipitation variability. Model LSP has a close connection to the low-level convergence via the resolved grid-scale dynamics and, thus, a close coupling with the surface heat flux. Such wind–evaporation feedback is essential to the development and maintenance of LSP and enhances model precipitation variability. LSP has stronger dependence and sensitivity on column moisture than CP. The moisture–convection feedback, critical to tropical intraseasonal variability, is enhanced in simulations with large LSP. Strong precipitation variability accompanied by a worse mean state implies that an optimal precipitation partitioning is critical to model tropical climate simulation.

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Cheng Tao, Yunyan Zhang, Qi Tang, Hsi-Yen Ma, Virendra P. Ghate, Shuaiqi Tang, Shaocheng Xie, and Joseph A. Santanello

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Using the 9-yr warm-season observations at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Southern Great Plains site, we assess the land–atmosphere (LA) coupling in the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) and two climate models: hindcasts with the Community Atmosphere Model version 5.1 by Cloud-Associated Parameterizations Testbed (CAM5-CAPT) and nudged runs with the Energy Exascale Earth System Model Atmosphere Model version 1 Regionally Refined Model (EAMv1-RRM). We focus on three local convective regimes and diagnose model behaviors using the local coupling metrics. NARR agrees well with observations except a slightly warmer and drier surface with higher downwelling shortwave radiation and lower evaporative fraction. On clear-sky days, it shows warmer and drier early-morning conditions in both models with significant underestimates in surface evaporation by EAMv1-RRM. On the majority of the ARM-observed shallow cumulus days, there is no or little low-level clouds in either model. When captured in models, the simulated shallow cumulus shows much less cloud fraction and lower cloud bases than observed. On the days with late-afternoon deep convection, models tend to present a stable early-morning lower atmosphere more frequently than the observations, suggesting that the deep convection is triggered more often by elevated instabilities. Generally, CAM5-CAPT can reproduce the local LA coupling processes to some extent due to the constrained early-morning conditions and large-scale winds. EAMv1-RRM exhibits large precipitation deficits and warm and dry biases toward mid-to-late summers, which may be an amplification through a positive LA feedback among initial atmosphere and land states, convection triggering and large-scale circulations.

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