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Tobias Becker and Cathy Hohenegger

Abstract

In this study, we estimate bulk entrainment rates for deep convection in convection-permitting simulations, conducted over the tropical Atlantic Ocean, encompassing parts of Africa and South America. We find that, even though entrainment rates decrease with height in all regions, they are, when averaging between 600 and 800 hPa, generally higher over land than over ocean. This is so because, over Amazonia, shallow convection causes an increase of bulk entrainment rates at lower levels and because, over West Africa, where entrainment rates are highest, convection is organized in squall lines. These squall lines are associated with strong mesoscale convergence, causing more intense updrafts and stronger turbulence generation in the vicinity of updrafts, increasing the entrainment rates. With the exception of West Africa, entrainment rates differ less across regions than across different environments within the regions. In contrast to what is usually assumed in convective parameterizations, entrainment rates increase with environmental humidity. Moreover, over ocean, they increase with static stability, while over land, they decrease. In addition, confirming the results of a recent idealized study, entrainment rates increase with convective aggregation, except in regions dominated by squall lines, like over West Africa.

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Tobias Becker and Cathy Hohenegger

Abstract

In this study, we estimate bulk entrainment rates for deep convection in convection-permitting simulations, conducted over the tropical Atlantic Ocean, encompassing parts of Africa and South America. We find that, even though entrainment rates decrease with height in all regions, they are, when averaging between 600 and 800 hPa, generally higher over land than over ocean. This is so because, over Amazonia, shallow convection causes an increase of bulk entrainment rates at lower levels and because, over West Africa, where entrainment rates are highest, convection is organized in squall lines. These squall lines are associated with strong mesoscale convergence, causing more intense updrafts and stronger turbulence generation in the vicinity of updrafts, increasing the entrainment rates. With the exception of West Africa, entrainment rates differ less across regions than across different environments within the regions. In contrast to what is usually assumed in convective parameterizations, entrainment rates increase with environmental humidity. Furthermore, over ocean, they increase with static stability, while over land, they decrease. In addition, confirming the results of a recent idealized study, entrainment rates increase with convective aggregation, except in regions dominated by squall lines, like over West Africa.

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Stephanie Fiedler, Traute Crueger, Roberta D’Agostino, Karsten Peters, Tobias Becker, David Leutwyler, Laura Paccini, Jörg Burdanowitz, Stefan A. Buehler, Alejandro Uribe Cortes, Thibaut Dauhut, Dietmar Dommenget, Klaus Fraedrich, Leonore Jungandreas, Nicola Maher, Ann Kristin Naumann, Maria Rugenstein, Mirjana Sakradzija, Hauke Schmidt, Frank Sielmann, Claudia Stephan, Claudia Timmreck, Xiuhua Zhu, and Bjorn Stevens

Abstract

The representation of tropical precipitation is evaluated across three generations of models participating in phases 3, 5, and 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP). Compared to state-of-the-art observations, improvements in tropical precipitation in the CMIP6 models are identified for some metrics, but we find no general improvement in tropical precipitation on different temporal and spatial scales. Our results indicate overall little changes across the CMIP phases for the summer monsoons, the double-ITCZ bias, and the diurnal cycle of tropical precipitation. We find a reduced amount of drizzle events in CMIP6, but tropical precipitation occurs still too frequently. Continuous improvements across the CMIP phases are identified for the number of consecutive dry days, for the representation of modes of variability, namely, the Madden–Julian oscillation and El Niño–Southern Oscillation, and for the trends in dry months in the twentieth century. The observed positive trend in extreme wet months is, however, not captured by any of the CMIP phases, which simulate negative trends for extremely wet months in the twentieth century. The regional biases are larger than a climate change signal one hopes to use the models to identify. Given the pace of climate change as compared to the pace of model improvements to simulate tropical precipitation, we question the past strategy of the development of the present class of global climate models as the mainstay of the scientific response to climate change. We suggest the exploration of alternative approaches such as high-resolution storm-resolving models that can offer better prospects to inform us about how tropical precipitation might change with anthropogenic warming.

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