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Title: Evaluation of Cloud-resolving and Limited Area Model Intercomparison Simulations using TWP-ICE Observations. Part 2: Rain Microphysics

Ten 3D cloud-resolving model (CRM) simulations and four 3D limited area model (LAM) simulations of an intense mesoscale convective system observed on January 23-24, 2006 during the Tropical Warm Pool – International Cloud Experiment (TWP-ICE) are compared with each other and with observations and retrievals from a scanning polarimetric radar, co-located UHF and VHF vertical profilers, and a Joss-Waldvogel disdrometer in an attempt to explain published results showing a low bias in simulated stratiform rainfall. Despite different forcing methodologies, similar precipitation microphysics errors appear in CRMs and LAMs with differences that depend on the details of the bulk microphysics scheme used. One-moment schemes produce too many small raindrops, which biases Doppler velocities low, but produces rain water contents (RWCs) that are similar to observed. Two-moment rain schemes with a gamma shape parameter (μ) of 0 produce excessive size sorting, which leads to larger Doppler velocities than those produced in one-moment schemes, but lower RWCs than observed. Two moment schemes also produce a convective median volume diameter distribution that is too broad relative to observations and thus, may have issues balancing raindrop formation, collision coalescence, and raindrop breakup. Assuming a μ of 2.5 rather than 0 for the raindrop size distributionmore » improves one-moment scheme biases, and allowing μ to have values greater than 0 may improve two-moment schemes. Under-predicted stratiform rain rates are associated with under-predicted ice water contents at the melting level rather than excessive rain evaporation, in turn likely associated with convective detrainment that is too high in the troposphere and mesoscale circulations that are too weak. In addition to stronger convective updrafts than observed, limited domain size prevents a large, well-developed stratiform region from developing in CRMs, while a dry bias in ECMWF analyses does the same to the LAMs.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres), 119(24):13,919–13,945
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
cloud-resolving; limited area model; intercomparison simulations; TWP-ICE; rain microphysics