Publications associated with Climate Processes

Quantifying the Effects of Horizontal Grid Length and Parameterized Convection on the Degree of Convective Organization Using a Metric of the Potential for Convective Interaction

Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences American Meteorological Society 75 (2018) 425-450

BA White, AM Buchanan, CE Birch, P Stier, KJ Pearson

<jats:p> The organization of deep convection and its misrepresentation in many global models is the focus of much current interest. A new method is presented for quantifying convective organization based on the identification of convective objects and subsequent derivation of object numbers, areas, and separation distances to describe the degree of convective organization. These parameters are combined into a “convection organization potential” based on the physical principle of an interaction potential between pairs of convective objects. This technique is applied to simulated and observed fields of outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) over the West African monsoon region using data from Met Office Unified Model simulations and satellite observations made by the Geostationary Earth Radiation Budget (GERB) instrument. The method is evaluated by using it to quantify differences between models with different horizontal grid lengths and representations of convection. Distributions of OLR, precipitation and organization parameters, the diurnal cycle of convection, and relationships between the meteorology in different states of organization are compared. Switching from a configuration with parameterized convection to one that allows the model to resolve convective processes at the model grid scale is the leading-order factor improving some aspects of model performance, while increased model resolution is the dominant factor for others. However, no single model configuration performs best compared to observations, indicating underlying deficiencies in both model scaling and process understanding. </jats:p>

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