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Title: GoAmazon2014/5 campaign points to deep-inflow approach to deep convection across scales

Representations of strongly precipitating deep-convective systems in climate models are among the most important factors in their simulation. Parameterizations of these motions face the dual challenge of unclear pathways to including mesoscale organization and high sensitivity of convection to approximations of turbulent entrainment of environmental air. Ill-constrained entrainment processes can even affect global average climate sensitivity under global warming. Multiinstrument observations from the Department of Energy GoAmazon2014/5 field campaign suggest that an alternative formulation from radar-derived dominant updraft structure yields a strong relationship of precipitation to buoyancy in both mesoscale and smaller-scale convective systems. This simultaneously provides a key step toward representing the influence of mesoscale convection in climate models and sidesteps a problematic dependence on traditional entrainment rates. A substantial fraction of precipitation is associated with mesoscale convective systems (MCSs), which are currently poorly represented in climate models. Convective parameterizations are highly sensitive to the assumptions of an entraining plume model, in which high equivalent potential temperature air from the boundary layer is modified via turbulent entrainment. Here we show, using multiinstrument evidence from the Green Ocean Amazon field campaign (2014–2015; GoAmazon2014/5), that an empirically constrained weighting for inflow of environmental air based on radar wind profiler estimates ofmore » vertical velocity and mass flux yields a strong relationship between resulting buoyancy measures and precipitation statistics. This deep-inflow weighting has no free parameter for entrainment in the conventional sense, but to a leading approximation is simply a statement of the geometry of the inflow. The structure further suggests the weighting could consistently apply even for coherent inflow structures noted in field campaign studies for MCSs over tropical oceans. For radar precipitation retrievals averaged over climate model grid scales at the GoAmazon2014/5 site, the use of deep-inflow mixing yields a sharp increase in the probability and magnitude of precipitation with increasing buoyancy. Furthermore, this applies for both mesoscale and smaller-scale convection. Results from reanalysis and satellite data show that this holds more generally: Deep-inflow mixing yields a strong precipitation–buoyancy relation across the tropics. Lastly, deep-inflow mixing may thus circumvent inadequacies of current parameterizations while helping to bridge the gap toward representing mesoscale convection in climate models.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [3] ; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA (United States); California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA (United States)
  2. Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA (United States)
  3. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0027-8424
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0012704; SC0011074
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 115; Journal ID: ISSN 0027-8424
National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC (United States)
Research Org:
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; tropical precipitation; moist convection; mesoscale convective system; convective parameterization; entrainment
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1433405