Evaluation of the CAM6 Climate Model Using Cloud Observations at McMurdo Station, Antarctica

Jackson Yip, Minghui Diao, Tyler Barone, Israel Silber, Andrew Gettelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A comparative analysis between observational data from McMurdo Station, Antarctica and the Community Atmosphere Model version 6 (CAM6) simulation is performed focusing on cloud characteristics and their thermodynamic conditions. Ka-band Zenith Radar (KAZR) and High Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL) retrievals are used as the basis of cloud fraction and cloud phase identifications. Radiosondes released at 12-h increments provide atmospheric profiles for evaluating the simulated thermodynamic conditions. Our findings show that the CAM6 simulation consistently overestimates (underestimates) cloud fraction above (below) 3 km in four seasons of a year. Normalized by total in-cloud samples, ice and mixed phase occurrence frequencies are underestimated and liquid phase frequency is overestimated by the model at cloud fractions above 0.6, while at cloud fractions below 0.6 ice phase frequency is overestimated and liquid-containing phase frequency is underestimated by the model. The cloud fraction biases are closely associated with concurrent biases in relative humidity (RH), that is, high (low) RH biases above (below) 2 km. Frequencies of correctly simulating ice and liquid-containing phase increase when the absolute biases of RH decrease. Cloud fraction biases also show a positive correlation with RH biases. Water vapor mixing ratio biases are the primary contributor to RH biases, and hence, likely a key factor controlling the cloud biases. This diagnosis of the evident shortfalls of representations of cloud characteristics in CAM6 simulation at McMurdo Station brings new insight in improving the governing model physics therein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021JD034653
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Volume126
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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