RACORO continental boundary layer cloud investigations: 3. separation of parameterization biases single-column model CAM5 simulations of shallow cumulus

Wuyin Lin, Yangang Liu, Andrew M. Vogelmann, Ann Fridlind, Satoshi Endo, Hua Song, Sha Feng, Tami Toto, Zhijin Li, Minghua Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Climatically important low-level clouds are commonly misrepresented in climate models. The FAst-physics System TEstbed and Research (FASTER) Project has constructed case studies from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility’s Southern Great Plain site during the RACORO aircraft campaign to facilitate research on model representation of boundary-layer clouds. This paper focuses on using the single-column Community Atmosphere Model version 5 (SCAM5) simulations of a multi-day continental shallow cumulus case to identify specific parameterization causes of low-cloud biases. Consistent model biases among the simulations driven by a set of alternative forcings suggest that uncertainty in the forcing plays only a relatively minor role. In-depth analysis reveals that the model’s shallow cumulus convection scheme tends to significantly under-produce clouds during the times when shallow cumuli exist in the observations, while the deep convective and stratiform cloud schemes significantly over-produce low-level clouds throughout the day. The links between model biases and the underlying assumptions of the shallow cumulus scheme are further diagnosed with the aid of large-eddy simulations and aircraft measurements, and by suppressing the triggering of the deep convection scheme. It is found that the weak boundary layer turbulence simulated is directly responsible for the weak cumulus activity and the simulated boundary layer stratiform clouds. Increased vertical and temporal resolutions are shown to lead to stronger boundary layer turbulence and reduction of low-cloud biases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6015-6033
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Volume120
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2015

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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