Publications associated with Climate Processes

How well can we represent the spectrum of convective clouds in a climate model? Comparisons between internal parameterization variables and radar observations

Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences American Meteorological Society 75 (2018) 1509–1524-

L Labbouz, Z Kipling, P Stier, A Protat

Current climate models cannot resolve individual convective clouds and hence parameterizations are needed. The primary goal of convective parameterization is to represent the bulk impact of convection on the gridbox-scale variables. Spectral convective parameterizations also aim to represent the key features of the subgrid-scale convective cloud field such as cloud top height distribution and in-cloud vertical velocities, in addition to precipitation rates. Ground-based radar retrievals of these quantities have been made available at Darwin, Australia, permitting direct comparisons of internal parameterization variables and providing new observational references for further model development. <p>A spectral convective parameterization (the convective cloud field model, CCFM) is discussed, and its internal equation of motion is improved. Results from the ECHAM-HAM model in single column mode using CCFM and the bulk mass-flux Tiedtke-Nordeng scheme are compared with the radar retrievals at Darwin. CCFM is found to outperform the Tiedtke-Nordeng scheme for cloud top height and precipitation rate distributions. Radar observations are further used to propose a modified CCFM configuration with aerodynamic drag and reduced entrainment parameter, further improving both the convective cloud top height distribution (important for large-scale impact of convection) and the in-cloud vertical velocities (important for aerosol activation). <p>This study provides new development in CCFM improving the representation of convective cloud spectrum characteristics observed in Darwin. This is a new step towards an improved representation of convection and ultimately of aerosol effects on convection. It also shows how long-term radar observations of convective cloud properties can help constrain parameters of convective parameterization schemes.</p></p>

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