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Title: Aerosol specification in single-column CAM5

The ability to run a global climate model in single-column mode is very useful for testing model improvements because single-column models (SCMs) are inexpensive to run and easy to interpret. A major breakthrough in Version 5 of the Community Atmosphere Model (CAM5) is the inclusion of prognostic aerosol. Unfortunately, this improvement was not coordinated with the SCM version of CAM5 and as a result CAM5-SCM initializes aerosols to zero. In this study we explore the impact of running CAM5-SCM with aerosol initialized to zero (hereafter named Default) and test three potential fixes. The first fix is to use CAM5's prescribed aerosol capability, which specifies aerosols at monthly climatological values. The second method is to prescribe aerosols at observed values. The third approach is to fix droplet and ice crystal numbers at prescribed values. We test our fixes in four different cloud regimes to ensure representativeness: subtropical drizzling stratocumulus (based on the DYCOMS RF02 case study), mixed-phase Arctic stratocumulus (using the MPACE-B case study), tropical shallow convection (using the RICO case study), and summertime mid-latitude continental convection (using the ARM95 case study). Stratiform cloud cases (DYCOMS RF02 and MPACE-B) were found to have a strong dependence on aerosol concentration, while convectivemore » cases (RICO and ARM95) were relatively insensitive to aerosol specification. This is perhaps expected because convective schemes in CAM5 do not currently use aerosol information. Adequate liquid water content in the MPACE-B case was only maintained when ice crystal number concentration was specified because the Meyers et al. (1992) deposition/condensation ice nucleation scheme used by CAM5 greatly overpredicts ice nucleation rates, causing clouds to rapidly glaciate. Surprisingly, predicted droplet concentrations for the ARM95 region in both SCM and global runs were around 25 cm−3, which is much lower than observed. This finding suggests that CAM5 has problems capturing aerosol effects in this climate regime.« less
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DOE award 33871/SCW1316-BER
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Geoscientific Model Development Discussions (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Geoscientific Model Development Discussions (Online); Journal Volume: 7; Journal Issue: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 1991-962X
European Geosciences Union
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