Dominant Cloud Microphysical Processes in a Tropical Oceanic Convective System: A 2D Cloud Resolving Modeling Study

Li, Xiaofan; Sui, C.-H.; Lau, K.-M.
October 2002
Monthly Weather Review;Oct2002, Vol. 130 Issue 10, p2481
Academic Journal
Dominant cloud microphysical processes associated with a tropical oceanic convective system are investigated based on a 2D cloud resolving simulation. The model is forced by the zonal-mean vertical velocity, zonal wind, sea surface temperature, and horizontal temperature and moisture advections measured and derived from the TOGA COARE period. The analysis of cloud microphysics budgets shows that cloud water forms due to vapor condensation, but most of the conversion of cloud water to precipitation occurs primarily through two mechanisms, depending on the temperature when they occur: through riming of cloud water onto precipitation ice (snow or graupel) at colder than 0°C and collection of cloud water by rain at warmer temperatures. Processes involving the liquid phase are dominant during the early stages of convection development. The collection process produces rain, and the riming process enhances ice clouds. Ice processes are more dominant during the later stages. The melting of precipitation ice and vapor deposition become important in producing rain and ice clouds, respectively. Based on the analysis of dominant cloud microphysical processes, a simplified set of cloud microphysics parameterization schemes are proposed. Simulations with the simplified and original sets show similar thermodynamic evolution and cloud properties.


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