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Title: The Separate Physics and Dynamics Experiment (SPADE) framework for determining resolution awareness: A case study of microphysics

The ability to use multi-resolution dynamical cores for weather and climate modeling is pushing the atmospheric community towards developing scale aware or, more specifically, resolution aware parameterizations that will function properly across a range of grid spacings. Determining the resolution dependence of specific model parameterizations is difficult due to strong resolution dependencies in many pieces of the model. This study presents the Separate Physics and Dynamics Experiment (SPADE) framework that can be used to isolate the resolution dependent behavior of specific parameterizations without conflating resolution dependencies from other portions of the model. To demonstrate the SPADE framework, the resolution dependence of the Morrison microphysics from the Weather Research and Forecasting model and the Morrison-Gettelman microphysics from the Community Atmosphere Model are compared for grid spacings spanning the cloud modeling gray zone. It is shown that the Morrison scheme has stronger resolution dependence than Morrison-Gettelman, and that the ability of Morrison-Gettelman to use partial cloud fractions is not the primary reason for this difference. This study also discusses how to frame the issue of resolution dependence, the meaning of which has often been assumed, but not clearly expressed in the atmospheric modeling community. It is proposed that parameterization resolution dependence canmore » be expressed in terms of "resolution dependence of the first type," RA1, which implies that the parameterization behavior converges towards observations with increasing resolution, or as "resolution dependence of the second type," RA2, which requires that the parameterization reproduces the same behavior across a range of grid spacings when compared at a given coarser resolution. RA2 behavior is considered the ideal, but brings with it serious implications due to limitations of parameterizations to accurately estimate reality with coarse grid spacing. The type of resolution awareness developers should target in their development depends upon the particular modeler’s application.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres), 118(16):9258-9276
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States