Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Publication Date
18 February 2021

Impacts of cloud microphysics parameterizations on simulated aerosol–cloud interactions for deep convective clouds over Houston



Aerosol–cloud interactions remain largely uncertain with respect to predicting their impacts on weather and climate. Cloud microphysics parameterization is one of the factors leading to large uncertainty. Here, we investigate the impacts of anthropogenic aerosols on the convective intensity and precipitation of a thunderstorm occurring on 19 June 2013 over Houston with the Chemistry version of Weather Research and Forecast model (WRF-Chem) using the Morrison two-moment bulk scheme and spectral bin microphysics (SBM) scheme. We find that the SBM predicts a deep convective cloud that shows better agreement with observations in terms of reflectivity and precipitation compared with the Morrison bulk scheme that has been used in many weather and climate models. With the SBM scheme, we see a significant invigoration effect on convective intensity and precipitation by anthropogenic aerosols, mainly through enhanced condensation latent heating. Such an effect is absent with the Morrison two-moment bulk microphysics, mainly because the saturation adjustment approach for droplet condensation and evaporation calculation limits the enhancement by aerosols in (1) condensation latent heat by removing the dependence of condensation on droplets and aerosols and (2) ice-related processes because the approach leads to stronger warm rain and weaker ice processes than the explicit supersaturation approach.
“Impacts Of Cloud Microphysics Parameterizations On Simulated Aerosol–Cloud Interactions For Deep Convective Clouds Over Houston”. 2021. Atmospheric Chemistry And Physics 21: 2363-2381. doi:10.5194/acp-21-2363-2021.
Funding Program Area(s)