A Comparison of Simulated Precipitation by Hybrid Isentropic-Sigma and Sigma Models

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  • 1 Space Science and Engineering Center, Department of atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
  • | 2 Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
  • | 3 Theoretical Studies Branch, Atmospheric Division, NASA Langley, Hampton, Virginia
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Abstract

The primary objectives of this study are threefold: 1) to compare simulators of dry and moist baroclinic development from 10-and 22-layer hybrid isentropic-sigma coordinate models with those from 11-, 27-, and 35-layer sigma coordinate models; 2) to examine the ability of the models to transport water vapor and simulate equivalent potential temperature θe; and 3) to compare predictions of the timing, location, and amount of precipitation. A model's capability to predict precipitation sterns from the accuracy of its simulation of the joint distribution of mass, potential temperature, and water vapor throughout the model domain. In a series of experiments to compare simulations of precipitation, several analytic distributions of water vapor are specified initially. The water vapor distributions include a “cylinder”extending vertically throughout the atmosphere and “lenses” within isentropic, sigma, and isobaric layers. The effect of increased horizontal resolution are also studied.

Results indicate that when the relative humidity is vertically uniform through a substantial extent of the atmosphere, all the models produce very similar precipitation distributions. However, when water vapor is confined to relatively shallow layers, the ability of the sigma coordinate models to simulate the timing, location, and amount of precipitation is severely compromised. Furthermore, the 10-layer hybrid model conserves θe to a higher degree of accuracy and simulates a more realistic evolution of precipitation even when compared to results from sigma models with increased vertical and horizontal resolution. In all instances, the experiments demonstrate that advantages reside in prediction of precipitation with the hybrid model. Both theoretical and conceptual bases for thew differences are provided.

Abstract

The primary objectives of this study are threefold: 1) to compare simulators of dry and moist baroclinic development from 10-and 22-layer hybrid isentropic-sigma coordinate models with those from 11-, 27-, and 35-layer sigma coordinate models; 2) to examine the ability of the models to transport water vapor and simulate equivalent potential temperature θe; and 3) to compare predictions of the timing, location, and amount of precipitation. A model's capability to predict precipitation sterns from the accuracy of its simulation of the joint distribution of mass, potential temperature, and water vapor throughout the model domain. In a series of experiments to compare simulations of precipitation, several analytic distributions of water vapor are specified initially. The water vapor distributions include a “cylinder”extending vertically throughout the atmosphere and “lenses” within isentropic, sigma, and isobaric layers. The effect of increased horizontal resolution are also studied.

Results indicate that when the relative humidity is vertically uniform through a substantial extent of the atmosphere, all the models produce very similar precipitation distributions. However, when water vapor is confined to relatively shallow layers, the ability of the sigma coordinate models to simulate the timing, location, and amount of precipitation is severely compromised. Furthermore, the 10-layer hybrid model conserves θe to a higher degree of accuracy and simulates a more realistic evolution of precipitation even when compared to results from sigma models with increased vertical and horizontal resolution. In all instances, the experiments demonstrate that advantages reside in prediction of precipitation with the hybrid model. Both theoretical and conceptual bases for thew differences are provided.

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