Bulk Parameterization of the Snow Field in a Cloud Model

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  • 1 Institute of Atmospheric Sciences, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City 57701
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Abstract

A two-dimensional, time-dependent cloud model has been used to simulate a moderate intensity thunderstorm for the High Plains region. Six forms of water substance (water vapor, cloud water, cloud ice, rain, snow and hail, i.e., graupel) are simulated. The model utilizes the “bulk water” microphysical parameterization technique to represent the precipitation fields which are all assumed to follow exponential size distribution functions. Autoconversion concepts are used to parameterize the collision-coalescence and collision-aggregation processes. Accretion processes involving the various forms of liquid and solid hydrometeors are simulated in this model. The transformation of cloud ice to snow through autoconversion (aggregation) and Bergeron process and subsequent accretional growth or aggregation to form hail are simulated. Hail is also produced by various contact mechanisms and via probabilistic freezing of raindrops. Evaporation (sublimation) is considered for all precipitation particles outside the cloud. The melting of hail and snow are included in the model. Wet and dry growth of hail and shedding of rain from hail are simulated.

The simulations show that the inclusion of snow has improved the realism of the results compared to a model without snow. The formation of virga from cloud anvils is now modeled. Addition of the snow field has resulted in the inclusion of more diverse and physically sound mechanisms for initiating the hail field, yielding greater potential for distinguishing dominant embryo types characteristically different from warm- and cold-based clouds.

Abstract

A two-dimensional, time-dependent cloud model has been used to simulate a moderate intensity thunderstorm for the High Plains region. Six forms of water substance (water vapor, cloud water, cloud ice, rain, snow and hail, i.e., graupel) are simulated. The model utilizes the “bulk water” microphysical parameterization technique to represent the precipitation fields which are all assumed to follow exponential size distribution functions. Autoconversion concepts are used to parameterize the collision-coalescence and collision-aggregation processes. Accretion processes involving the various forms of liquid and solid hydrometeors are simulated in this model. The transformation of cloud ice to snow through autoconversion (aggregation) and Bergeron process and subsequent accretional growth or aggregation to form hail are simulated. Hail is also produced by various contact mechanisms and via probabilistic freezing of raindrops. Evaporation (sublimation) is considered for all precipitation particles outside the cloud. The melting of hail and snow are included in the model. Wet and dry growth of hail and shedding of rain from hail are simulated.

The simulations show that the inclusion of snow has improved the realism of the results compared to a model without snow. The formation of virga from cloud anvils is now modeled. Addition of the snow field has resulted in the inclusion of more diverse and physically sound mechanisms for initiating the hail field, yielding greater potential for distinguishing dominant embryo types characteristically different from warm- and cold-based clouds.

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