Biological and Environmental Research - Earth and Environmental System Sciences
Earth and Environmental System Modeling
01 December 2016

A Reduced Complexity Framework to Bridge the Gap between AGCMs and Cloud-Resolving Models


The role of parameterized convection at high resolution and the impact on clouds, circulation, and precipitation processes is not well understood. Radiative-convective equilibrium (RCE) offers a simplified framework to investigate such uncertainties. The Community Atmosphere Model, version 5 is configured in a RCE setup that consists of an ocean-covered planet with diurnally varying, spatially uniform insolation with no rotation effects. 


A series of simulations are performed in which the planetary radius is incrementally reduced. Because of the homogeneity of the setup, the effect is to reduce grid spacing, mimicking increased resolution without increasing the number of grid points. 


The results suggest that the reduced planet approach is able to reproduce the behavior of convection from full high-resolution simulations. At grid spacing less than 20 km, convective motions are predominantly produced by resolved scales.

Brian Medeiros
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)