The 4–5 December 2001 IMPROVE-2 Event: Observed Microphysics and Comparisons with the Weather Research and Forecasting Model

Yanluan Lin; Colle, Brian A.
April 2009
Monthly Weather Review;Apr2009, Vol. 137 Issue 4, p1372
Academic Journal
This paper highlights the observed and simulated microphysical evolution of a moderate orographic rainfall event over the central Oregon Cascade Range during 4–5 December 2001 of the Second Improvement of Microphysical Parameterization through Observational Verification Experiment (IMPROVE-2). Airborne in situ measurements illustrate the spatial variations in ice crystal distributions and amounts over the windward Cascades and within some convective cells. The in situ microphysical observations, ground radars, and surface observations are compared with four bulk microphysical parameterizations (BMPs) within the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. Those WRF BMP schemes that overpredict surface precipitation along the Cascade windward slopes are shown to have too rapid graupel (rimed snow) fallout. Most BMP schemes overpredict snow in the maximum snow depositional growth region aloft, which results in excessive precipitation spillover into the immediate lee of the Cascades. Meanwhile, there is underprediction to the east of the Cascades in all BMP schemes. Those BMPs that produce more graupel than snow generate nearly twice as much precipitation over the Oregon Coast Range as the other BMPs given the cellular convection in this region. Sensitivity runs suggest that the graupel accretion of snow generates too much graupel within select WRF BMPs. Those BMPs that generate more graupel than snow have shorter cloud residence times and larger removal of available water vapor. Snow depositional growth may be overestimated by 2 times within the BMPs when a capacitance for spherical particles is used rather than for snow aggregates. Snow mass–diameter relationships also have a large impact on the snow and cloud liquid water generation. The positive definite advection scheme for moisture and hydrometeors in the WRF reduces the surface precipitation by 20%–30% over the Coast Range and improves water conservation, especially where there are convective cells.


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