Biological and Environmental Research - Earth and Environmental System Sciences
Earth and Environmental System Modeling

Assessment of Precipitating Marine Stratocumulus Clouds in the E3SMv1 Atmosphere Model: A Case Study from the ARM MAGIC Field Campaign

TitleAssessment of Precipitating Marine Stratocumulus Clouds in the E3SMv1 Atmosphere Model: A Case Study from the ARM MAGIC Field Campaign
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Volume148
Number8
Pages3341-3359
Abstract / Summary

This paper presents a process-oriented evaluation of precipitating stratocumulus and its transition to cumulus in version 1 of the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SMv1) using comprehensive case-study observations from a field campaign of the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program (ARM). The E3SMv1 single-column model (SCM) of the marine boundary layer and its low clouds and precipitation are compared to observations including subcloud drizzle retrievals from a combination of Doppler radar and lidar backscatter measurements. The SCM is also compared to a large-eddy simulation (LES) of the same case. The combination of advanced remote sensing observations and LES is a powerful framework to evaluate the physical parameterizations of large-scale models. Given the observed large-scale environment, the E3SMv1 SCM realistically represents the evolution of clouds and boundary layer structure during the stratocumulus-to-cumulus transition. The model well simulates the liquid water path and its diurnal cycle in the stratocumulus period as well as the two-layer vertical thermodynamic structure and lower cloud fraction in the transition period. E3SMv1’s success in simulating the cloud in the stratocumulus period permitted examination of its precipitation processes. Here problems were identified with E3SMv1 producing an unrealistically small subcloud precipitation fraction, an unrealistic double peak in the vertical profiles of precipitation mass, and drizzle that evaporates too close to the surface. Further model diagnostics determined that these unrealistic characteristics resulted from an overly long microphysics time step and an unrealistic parameterization of the precipitation fraction. These results imply that careful consideration of these issues is needed in order to better simulate precipitation processes in marine stratocumulus.

URLhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1175/mwr-d-19-0349.1
DOI10.1175/mwr-d-19-0349.1
Journal: Monthly Weather Review
Year of Publication: 2020
Volume: 148
Number: 8
Pages: 3341-3359
Publication Date: 08/2020

This paper presents a process-oriented evaluation of precipitating stratocumulus and its transition to cumulus in version 1 of the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SMv1) using comprehensive case-study observations from a field campaign of the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program (ARM). The E3SMv1 single-column model (SCM) of the marine boundary layer and its low clouds and precipitation are compared to observations including subcloud drizzle retrievals from a combination of Doppler radar and lidar backscatter measurements. The SCM is also compared to a large-eddy simulation (LES) of the same case. The combination of advanced remote sensing observations and LES is a powerful framework to evaluate the physical parameterizations of large-scale models. Given the observed large-scale environment, the E3SMv1 SCM realistically represents the evolution of clouds and boundary layer structure during the stratocumulus-to-cumulus transition. The model well simulates the liquid water path and its diurnal cycle in the stratocumulus period as well as the two-layer vertical thermodynamic structure and lower cloud fraction in the transition period. E3SMv1’s success in simulating the cloud in the stratocumulus period permitted examination of its precipitation processes. Here problems were identified with E3SMv1 producing an unrealistically small subcloud precipitation fraction, an unrealistic double peak in the vertical profiles of precipitation mass, and drizzle that evaporates too close to the surface. Further model diagnostics determined that these unrealistic characteristics resulted from an overly long microphysics time step and an unrealistic parameterization of the precipitation fraction. These results imply that careful consideration of these issues is needed in order to better simulate precipitation processes in marine stratocumulus.

DOI: 10.1175/mwr-d-19-0349.1
Citation:
Zheng, X, S Klein, V Ghate, S Santos, J McGibbon, P Caldwell, P Bogenschutz, W Lin, and M Cadeddu.  2020.  "Assessment of Precipitating Marine Stratocumulus Clouds in the E3SMv1 Atmosphere Model: A Case Study from the ARM MAGIC Field Campaign."  Monthly Weather Review 148(8): 3341-3359.  https://doi.org/10.1175/mwr-d-19-0349.1.