Sensitivity of Cloud-Resolving Simulations of Warm-Season Convection to Cloud Microphysics Parameterizations

Liu, Changhai; Moncrieff, Mitchell W.
August 2007
Monthly Weather Review;Aug2007, Vol. 135 Issue 8, p2854
Academic Journal
This paper investigates the effects of cloud microphysics parameterizations on simulations of warm-season precipitation at convection-permitting grid spacing. The objective is to assess the sensitivity of summertime convection predictions to the bulk microphysics parameterizations (BMPs) at fine-grid spacings applicable to the next generation of operational numerical weather prediction models. Four microphysical parameterization schemes are compared: simple ice (Dudhia), four-class mixed phase (Reisner et al.), Goddard five-class mixed phase (Tao and Simpson), and five-class mixed phase with graupel (Reisner et al.). The experimentation involves a 7-day episode (3–9 July 2003) of U.S. midsummer convection under moderate large-scale forcing. Overall, the precipitation coherency manifested as eastward-moving organized convection in the lee of the Rockies is insensitive to the choice of the microphysics schemes, and the latent heating profiles are also largely comparable among the BMPs. The upper-level condensate and cloudiness, upper-level radiative cooling/heating, and rainfall spectrum are the most sensitive, whereas the domain-mean rainfall rate and areal coverage display moderate sensitivity. Overall, the three mixed-phase schemes outperform the simple ice scheme, but a general conclusion about the degree of sophistication in the microphysics treatment and the performance is not achievable.


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