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Author ORCID ID is 0000000175919933
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  1. Regional climate simulations over the continental United States were conducted for the 2011 warm season using the Weather Research and Forecasting model at convection–permitting resolution (4 km) with two commonly used microphysics parameterizations (Thompson and Morrison). Sensitivities of the simulated mesoscale convective system (MCS) properties and feedbacks to large–scale environments are systematically examined against high–resolution geostationary satellite and 3–D mosaic radar observations. MCS precipitation including precipitation amount, diurnal cycle, and distribution of hourly precipitation intensity are reasonably captured by the two simulations despite significant differences in their simulated MCS properties. In general, the Thompson simulation produces better agreement with observationsmore » for MCS upper level cloud shield and precipitation area, convective feature horizontal and vertical extents, and partitioning between convective and stratiform precipitation. More importantly, Thompson simulates more stratiform rainfall, which agrees better with observations and results in top–heavier heating profiles from robust MCSs compared to Morrison. A stronger dynamical feedback to the large–scale environment is therefore seen in Thompson, wherein an enhanced mesoscale vortex behind the MCS strengthens the synoptic–scale trough and promotes advection of cool and dry air into the rear of the MCS region. The latter prolongs the MCS lifetimes in the Thompson relative to the Morrison simulations. Hence, different treatment of cloud microphysics not only alters MCS convective–scale dynamics but also has significant impacts on their macrophysical properties such as lifetime and precipitation. Furthermore, as long–lived MCSs produced 2–3 times the amount of rainfall compared to short–lived ones, cloud microphysics parameterizations have profound impact in simulating extreme precipitation and the hydrologic cycle.« less
  2. CMIP 5 models exhibit a mean dry bias and a large inter-model spread in simulating South Asian monsoon precipitation but the origins of the bias and spread are not well understood. Using moisture and energy budget analysis that exploits the weak temperature gradients in the tropics, we derived a non-linear relationship between the normalized precipitation and normalized precipitable water that is similar to the non-linear relationship between precipitation and precipitable water found in previous observational studies. About half of the 21 models analyzed fall in the steep gradient of the non-linear relationship where small differences in the normalized precipitable watermore » in the equatorial Indian Ocean (EIO) manifest in large differences in normalized precipitation in the region. Models with larger normalized precipitable water in the EIO during spring contribute disproportionately to the large inter-model spread and multi-model mean dry bias in monsoon precipitation through perturbations of the large-scale winds. Thus the intermodel spread in precipitable water over EIO leads to the dry bias in the multi-model mean South Asian monsoon precipitation. The models with high normalized precipitable water over EIO also project larger response to warming and dominate the inter-model spread in the multi-model projections of monsoon rainfall. Conversely, models on the flat side of the relationship between normalized precipitation and precipitable water are in better agreement with each other and with observations. On average these models project a smaller increase in the projected monsoon precipitation than that from multi-model mean. As a result, this study identified the normalized precipitable water over EIO, which is determined by the relationship between the profiles of convergence and moisture and therefore is an essential outcome of the treatment of convection, as a key metric for understanding model biases and differentiating model skill in simulating South Asian monsoon precipitation.« less
  3. A stochastic prognostic framework for modeling the population dynamics of convective clouds and representing them in climate models is proposed. The framework follows the nonequilibrium statistical mechanical approach to constructing a master equation for representing the evolution of the number of convective cells of a specific size and their associated cloud-base mass flux, given a large-scale forcing. In this framework, referred to as STOchastic framework for Modeling Population dynamics of convective clouds (STOMP), the evolution of convective cell size is predicted from three key characteristics of convective cells: (i) the probability of growth, (ii) the probability of decay, and (iii)more » the cloud-base mass flux. STOMP models are constructed and evaluated against CPOL radar observations at Darwin and convection permitting model (CPM) simulations. Multiple models are constructed under various assumptions regarding these three key parameters and the realisms of these models are evaluated. It is shown that in a model where convective plumes prefer to aggregate spatially and the cloud-base mass flux is a nonlinear function of convective cell area, the mass flux manifests a recharge-discharge behavior under steady forcing. Such a model also produces observed behavior of convective cell populations and CPM simulated cloud-base mass flux variability under diurnally varying forcing. Finally, in addition to its use in developing understanding of convection processes and the controls on convective cell size distributions, this modeling framework is also designed to serve as a nonequilibrium closure formulations for spectral mass flux parameterizations.« less
  4. Convection permitting simulations using the Model for Prediction Across Scales-Atmosphere (MPAS-A) are used to examine how microphysical processes affect large-scale precipitation variability and extremes. An episode of the Madden-Julian Oscillation is simulated using MPAS-A with a refined region at 4-km grid spacing over the Indian Ocean. It is shown that cloud microphysical processes regulate the precipitable water (PW) statistics. Because of the non-linear relationship between precipitation and PW, PW exceeding a certain critical value (PWcr) contributes disproportionately to precipitation variability. However, the frequency of PW exceeding PWcr decreases rapidly with PW, so changes in microphysical processes that shift the columnmore » PW statistics relative to PWcr even slightly have large impacts on precipitation variability. Furthermore, precipitation variance and extreme precipitation frequency are approximately linearly related to the difference between the mean and critical PW values. Thus observed precipitation statistics could be used to directly constrain model microphysical parameters as this study demonstrates using radar observations from DYNAMO field campaign.« less

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