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Evaluation of Cloudiness Parameterizations Using a Cumulus Ensemble Model

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
  • | 2 Department of Meteorology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
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Abstract

Diagnostic cloudiness parameterizations in large-scale models are evaluated by using a two-dimensional numerical cumulus ensemble model. The model covers a large horizontal domain (512 km) but resolves individual clouds. This study explores the dependence of diagnostic relations (between cloud amount and a large-scale variable) on cloud regime, horizontal averaging distance, and cloud type for tropical convective cloud regimes. Large-scale variables, including relative humidity, cumulus mass flux, large-scale vertical velocity and surface precipitation rate, are examined.

It is shown that the total cloud amount can be better estimated as the sum of separate estimates of stratiform and convective cloud amounts using different large-scale variables than by an estimate of the total cloud amount using any single large-scale variable. The stratiform cloud amount can best be estimated by using relative humidity. The convective cloud amount can be diagnosed by using cumulus mass flux. Neither set of diagnostic relations depends significantly on the simulated cloud regime or horizontal averaging distance, but other diagnostic relations do show some such dependence. These results are interpreted and their implications for cloudiness parameterization are discussed.

Abstract

Diagnostic cloudiness parameterizations in large-scale models are evaluated by using a two-dimensional numerical cumulus ensemble model. The model covers a large horizontal domain (512 km) but resolves individual clouds. This study explores the dependence of diagnostic relations (between cloud amount and a large-scale variable) on cloud regime, horizontal averaging distance, and cloud type for tropical convective cloud regimes. Large-scale variables, including relative humidity, cumulus mass flux, large-scale vertical velocity and surface precipitation rate, are examined.

It is shown that the total cloud amount can be better estimated as the sum of separate estimates of stratiform and convective cloud amounts using different large-scale variables than by an estimate of the total cloud amount using any single large-scale variable. The stratiform cloud amount can best be estimated by using relative humidity. The convective cloud amount can be diagnosed by using cumulus mass flux. Neither set of diagnostic relations depends significantly on the simulated cloud regime or horizontal averaging distance, but other diagnostic relations do show some such dependence. These results are interpreted and their implications for cloudiness parameterization are discussed.

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