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Huang, XM, Hu CQ, Huang X, Chu Y, Tseng YH, Zhang GJ, Lin YL.  2018.  A long-term tropical mesoscale convective systems dataset based on a novel objective automatic tracking algorithm. Climate Dynamics. 51:3145-3159.   10.1007/s00382-018-4071-0   AbstractWebsite

Mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) are important components of tropical weather systems and the climate system. Long-term data of MCS are of great significance in weather and climate research. Using long-term (1985-2008) global satellite infrared (IR) data, we developed a novel objective automatic tracking algorithm, which combines a Kalman filter (KF) with the conventional area-overlapping method, to generate a comprehensive MCS dataset. The new algorithm can effectively track small and fast-moving MCSs and thus obtain more realistic and complete tracking results than previous studies. A few examples are provided to illustrate the potential application of the dataset with a focus on the diurnal variations of MCSs over land and ocean regions. We find that the MCSs occurring over land tend to initiate in the afternoon with greater intensity, but the oceanic MCSs are more likely to initiate in the early morning with weaker intensity. A double peak in the maximum spatial coverage is noted over the western Pacific, especially over the southwestern Pacific during the austral summer. Oceanic MCSs also persist for approximately 1h longer than their continental counterparts.

Kao, A, Jiang X, Li LM, Trammell JH, Zhang GJ, Su H, Jiang JH, Yung YL.  2018.  A Comparative Study of Atmospheric Moisture Recycling Rate between Observations and Models. Journal of Climate. 31:2389-2398.   10.1175/jcli-d-17-0421.1   AbstractWebsite

Precipitation and column water vapor data from 13 CMIP5 models and observational datasets are used to analyze atmospheric moisture recycling rate from 1988 to 2008. The comparisons between observations and model simulations suggest that most CMIP5 models capture two main characteristics of the recycling rate: 1) long-term decreasing trend of the global-average maritime recycling rate (atmospheric recycling rate over ocean within 608S-608N) and 2) dominant spatial patterns of the temporal variations of the recycling rate (i.e., increasing in the intertropical convergence zone and decreasing in subtropical regions). All models, except one, successfully simulate not only the long-term trend but also the interannual variability of column water vapor. The simulations of precipitation are relatively poor, especially over the relatively short time scales, which lead to the discrepancy of the recycling rate between observations and the CMIP5 models. Comparisons of spatial patterns also suggest that the CMIP5 models simulate column water vapor better than precipitation. The comparative studies indicate the scope of improvement in the simulations of precipitation, especially for the relatively short-time-scale variations, to better simulate the recycling rate of atmospheric moisture, an important indicator of climate change.

Zhou, ZQ, Xie SP, Zhang GJ, Zhou WY.  2018.  Evaluating AMIP Skill in Simulating Interannual Variability over the Indo-Western Pacific. Journal of Climate. 31:2253-2265.   10.1175/jcli-d-17-0123.1   AbstractWebsite

Local correlation between sea surface temperature (SST) and rainfall is weak or even negative in summer over the Indo-western Pacific warm pool, a fact often taken as indicative of weak ocean feedback on the atmosphere. An Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project (AMIP) simulation forced by monthly varying SSTs derived from a parallel coupled general circulation model (CGCM) run is used to evaluate AMIP skills in simulating interannual variability of rainfall. Local correlation of rainfall variability between AMIP and CGCMsimulations is used as a direct metric of AMIP skill. This "perfect model'' approach sidesteps the issue of model biases that complicates the traditional skill metric based on the correlation between AMIP and observations. Despite weak local SST-rainfall correlation, the AMIP-CGCM rainfall correlation exceeds a 95% significance level over most of the Indo-western Pacific warm pool, indicating the importance of remote (e.g., El Nino in the equatorial Pacific) rather than local SST forcing. Indeed, the AMIP successfully reproduces large-scale modes of rainfall variability over the Indo-western Pacific warm pool. Compared to the northwest Pacific east of the Philippines, the AMIP-CGCMrainfall correlation is low from the Bay of Bengal through the South China Sea, limited by internal variability of the atmosphere that is damped in CGCM by negative feedback from the ocean. Implications for evaluating AMIP skill in simulating observations are discussed.

Song, FF, Zhang GJ.  2017.  Improving trigger functions for convective parameterization schemes using GOAmazon observations. Journal of Climate. 30:8711-8726.   10.1175/jcli-d-17-0042.1   AbstractWebsite

Using observations from the Green Ocean Amazon (GOAmazon) field campaign, this study aims to improve trigger functions of convection schemes. Results show that the CAPE generation rate (dCAPE)-type triggers are the first tier and that the Bechtold and heated condensation framework (HCF) triggers are a distant second tier. The composite analysis reveals that the undilute dCAPE trigger underpredicts convection when there is bottom-heavy upward motion but overpredicts convection with low-level downward and upperlevel upward motions. The empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis on vertical velocity shows that EOF1 (62.65%) exhibits upward motion throughout the troposphere and that EOF2 (28.05%) has lower-level upward motion and upper-level downward motion. Both of them have close relationships with precipitation, indicating the role of vertical velocity in triggering convection. The skill sensitivity analysis shows that the inclusion of 700-hPa upward motion significantly enhances the undilute dCAPE trigger. For the dilute dCAPE trigger, entrainment rate and dCAPE threshold are optimized to improve it. Opposite to dCAPEtype triggers, the Bechtold trigger overemphasizes the low-level vertical velocity and underpredicts the mature and decaying phases of long-lasting convection events. The HCF trigger overemphasizes the nearsurface moist static energy and overlooks the vertical velocity. The performance of dCAPE-type triggers on various convective systems over the Amazon region is examined. The eastward-propagating systems are best represented, with only a few underpredictions in their decaying stages. The weak locally occurring systems and marginal phases of westward-propagating systems are easy to underpredict. The revised dCAPE-type triggers perform better on different convection systems and the diurnal cycle of convection.

Song, FF, Zhang GJ.  2017.  Impact of tropical SSTs in the North Atlantic and Southeastern Pacific on the Eastern Pacific ITCZ. Journal of Climate. 30:1291-1305.   10.1175/jcli-d-16-0310.1   AbstractWebsite

During boreal spring, observations show a double ITCZ over the eastern Pacific, with the northern ITCZ stronger than the southern ITCZ. However, it is opposite in most climate models. It is also evident that there exists a cold bias in tropical North Atlantic (TNA) sea surface temperature (SST) and a warm bias in southeastern Pacific (SEP) SST. In this study, the influences of TNA and SEP SSTs on the double-ITCZ bias are investigated by prescribing the observed SST in these regions in the NCAR CESM1. Results show that when TNA SST is prescribed, the northern ITCZ is substantially enhanced and the southern ITCZ is moderately reduced, although the SST response in these regions is small. When the SEP SST is prescribed, the southern ITCZ is reduced considerably. When bothTNAand SEP SSTs are prescribed, the double-ITCZ bias is reduced by similar to 68%. Moisture budget analysis suggests that dynamics, mainly the low-level convergence change, determines the above precipitation changes. Based on a mixed layer model, changes in low-level convergence are shown to be determined by surface pressure P-s changes. With prescribed TNA/SEP SSTs, SST gradients change the P-s in the region directly via the Lindzen-Nigam mechanism. The corresponding low-level circulation changes affect the 850-hPa thermodynamic state in a wider region, which in turn not only strengthens the SST-induced P-s change locally but also leads to P-s changes remotely, including the northern ITCZ region. Furthermore, the low-level convergence changes the vertical structure of moist static energy, altering the atmospheric stability and modulating precipitation distribution.

Wang, Y, Zhang GJ.  2016.  Global climate impacts of stochastic deep convection parameterization in the NCAR CAM5. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems. 8:1641-1656.   10.1002/2016ms000756   AbstractWebsite

In this study, the stochastic deep convection parameterization of Plant and Craig (PC) is implemented in the Community Atmospheric Model version 5 (CAM5) to incorporate the stochastic processes of convection into the Zhang-McFarlane (ZM) deterministic deep convective scheme. Its impacts on deep convection, shallow convection, large-scale precipitation and associated dynamic and thermodynamic fields are investigated. Results show that with the introduction of the PC stochastic parameterization, deep convection is decreased while shallow convection is enhanced. The decrease in deep convection is mainly caused by the stochastic process and the spatial averaging of input quantities for the PC scheme. More detrained liquid water associated with more shallow convection leads to significant increase in liquid water and ice water paths, which increases large-scale precipitation in tropical regions. Specific humidity, relative humidity, zonal wind in the tropics, and precipitable water are all improved. The simulation of shortwave cloud forcing (SWCF) is also improved. The PC stochastic parameterization decreases the global mean SWCF from 252.25 W/m(2) in the standard CAM5 to 248.86 W/m(2), close to 247.16 W/m(2) in observations. The improvement in SWCF over the tropics is due to decreased low cloud fraction simulated by the stochastic scheme. Sensitivity tests of tuning parameters are also performed to investigate the sensitivity of simulated climatology to uncertain parameters in the stochastic deep convection scheme.

Fan, JW, Liu YC, Xu KM, North K, Collis S, Dong XQ, Zhang GJ, Chen Q, Kollias P, Ghan SJ.  2015.  Improving representation of convective transport for scale-aware parameterization: 1. Convection and cloud properties simulated with spectral bin and bulk microphysics. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 120:3485-3509.   10.1002/2014jd022142   AbstractWebsite

The ultimate goal of this study is to improve the representation of convective transport by cumulus parameterization for mesoscale and climate models. As Part 1 of the study, we perform extensive evaluations of cloud-resolving simulations of a squall line and mesoscale convective complexes in midlatitude continent and tropical regions using the Weather Research and Forecasting model with spectral bin microphysics (SBM) and with two double-moment bulk microphysics schemes: a modified Morrison (MOR) and Milbrandt and Yau (MY2). Compared to observations, in general, SBM gives better simulations of precipitation and vertical velocity of convective cores than MOR and MY2 and therefore will be used for analysis of scale dependence of eddy transport in Part 2. The common features of the simulations for all convective systems are (1) the model tends to overestimate convection intensity in the middle and upper troposphere, but SBM can alleviate much of the overestimation and reproduce the observed convection intensity well; (2) the model greatly overestimates Z(e) in convective cores, especially for the weak updraft velocity; and (3) the model performs better for midlatitude convective systems than the tropical system. The modeled mass fluxes of the midlatitude systems are not sensitive to microphysics schemes but are very sensitive for the tropical case indicating strong microphysics modification to convection. Cloud microphysical measurements of rain, snow, and graupel in convective cores will be critically important to further elucidate issues within cloud microphysics schemes.

Li, LJ, Wang B, Zhang GJ.  2014.  The role of nonconvective condensation processes in response of surface shortwave cloud radiative forcing to El Nino warming. Journal of Climate. 27:6721-6736.   10.1175/jcli-d-13-00632.1   AbstractWebsite

The weak response of surface shortwave cloud radiative forcing (SWCF) to El Nino over the equatorial Pacific remains a common problem in many contemporary climate models. This study shows that two versions of the Grid-Point Atmospheric Model of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP)/State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (LASG) (GAMIL) produce distinctly different surface SWCF response to El Nino. The earlier version, GAMIL1, underestimates this response, whereas the latest version, GAMIL2, simulates it well. To understand the causes for the different SWCF responses between the two simulations, the authors analyze the underlying physical mechanisms. Results indicate the enhanced stratiform condensation and evaporation in GAMIL2 play a key role in improving the simulations of multiyear annual mean water vapor (or relative humidity), cloud fraction, and incloud liquid water path (ICLWP) and hence in reducing the biases of SWCF and rainfall responses to El Nino due to all of the improved dynamical (vertical velocity at 500 hPa), cloud amount, and liquid water path (LWP) responses. The largest contribution to the SWCF response improvement in GAMIL2 is from LWP in the Nino-4 region and from low-cloud cover and LWP in the Nino-3 region. Furthermore, as a crucial factor in the low-cloud response, the atmospheric stability change in the lower layers is significantly influenced by the nonconvective heating variation during La Nina.

Cai, QQ, Zhang GJ, Zhou TJ.  2013.  Impacts of shallow convection on MJO simulation: A moist static energy and moisture budget analysis. Journal of Climate. 26:2417-2431.   10.1175/jcli-d-12-00127.1   AbstractWebsite

The role of shallow convection in Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) simulation is examined in terms of the moist static energy (MSE) and moisture budgets. Two experiments are carried out using the NCAR Community Atmosphere Model, version 3.0 (CAM3.0): a "CTL'' run and an "NSC'' run that is the same as the CTL except with shallow convection disabled below 700 hPa between 20 degrees S and 20 degrees N. Although the major features in the mean state of outgoing longwave radiation, 850-hPa winds, and vertical structure of specific humidity are reasonably reproduced in both simulations, moisture and clouds are more confined to the planetary boundary layer in the NSC run. While the CTL run gives a better simulation of the MJO life cycle when compared with the reanalysis data, the NSC shows a substantially weaker MJO signal. Both the reanalysis data and simulations show a recharge-discharge mechanism in the MSE evolution that is dominated by the moisture anomalies. However, in the NSC the development of MSE and moisture anomalies is weaker and confined to a shallow layer at the developing phases, which may prevent further development of deep convection. By conducting the budget analysis on both the MSE and moisture, it is found that the major biases in the NSC run are largely attributed to the vertical and horizontal advection. Without shallow convection, the lack of gradual deepening of upward motion during the developing stage of MJO prevents the lower troposphere above the boundary layer from being preconditioned for deep convection.

Song, XL, Zhang GJ, Li JLF.  2012.  Evaluation of microphysics parameterization for convective clouds in the NCAR Community Atmosphere Model CAM5. Journal of Climate. 25:8568-8590.   10.1175/jcli-d-11-00563.1   AbstractWebsite

A physically based two-moment microphysics parameterization scheme for convective clouds is implemented in the NCAR Community Atmosphere Model version 5 (CAMS) to improve the representation of convective clouds and their interaction with large-scale clouds and aerosols. The explicit treatment of mass mixing ratio and number concentration of cloud and precipitation particles enables the scheme to account for the impact of aerosols on convection. The scheme is linked to aerosols through cloud droplet activation and ice nucleation processes and to stratiform cloud parameterization through convective detrainment of cloud liquid/ice water content (LWC/IWC) and droplet/crystal number concentration (DNC/CNC). A 5-yr simulation with the new convective microphysics scheme shows that both cloud LWC/IWC and DNC/CNC are in good agreement with observations, indicating the scheme describes microphysical processes in convection well. Moreover, the microphysics scheme is able to represent the aerosol effects on convective clouds such as the suppression of warm rain formation and enhancement of freezing when aerosol loading is increased. With more realistic simulations of convective cloud microphysical properties and their detrainment, the mid- and low-level cloud fraction is increased significantly over the ITCZ-southern Pacific convergence zone (SPCZ) and subtropical oceans, making it much closer to the observations. Correspondingly, the serious negative bias in cloud liquid water path over subtropical oceans observed in the standard CAMS is reduced markedly. The large-scale precipitation is increased and precipitation distribution is improved as well. The long-standing precipitation bias in the western Pacific is significantly alleviated because of microphysics-thermodynamics feedbacks.

Song, XL, Zhang GJ.  2011.  Microphysics parameterization for convective clouds in a global climate model: Description and single-column model tests. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 116   10.1029/2010jd014833   AbstractWebsite

An efficient two-moment microphysics parameterization scheme for convective clouds is developed to improve the representation of convective clouds and its interactions with stratiform clouds and aerosol in global climate models (GCMs). The scheme explicitly treats mass mixing ratio and number concentration of four hydrometeor species (cloud water, cloud ice, rain, and snow) and describes several microphysical processes, including autoconversion, self-collection, collection between hydrometeor species, freezing, cloud ice nucleation, droplet activation, and sedimentation. Thus this physically based scheme is suitable for investigating the interaction between convection and aerosol and the indirect aerosol effect on climate. An evaluation of the scheme in the single-column version of NCAR Community Atmospheric Model version 3.5 (CAM3.5) with the Tropical Warm Pool-International Cloud Experiment (TWP-ICE) data shows that the simulation of cloud microphysical properties in convective core is significantly improved, indicating that the new parameterization describes the microphysical processes in convection reasonably well. The contribution from convective detrainment to large-scale cloud ice and liquid water budgets is enhanced greatly. With more realistic convective cloud microphysical properties and their detrainment, the surface stratiform precipitation, which is seriously underestimated in the model, is increased by a factor of roughly 2.5, and therefore is much closer to the observations. In addition, the simulations of net surface shortwave radiation flux, OLR, specific humidity, and temperature are also improved to some extent. Sensitivity experiments show that the microphysics scheme is moderately sensitive to model vertical resolution, updraft vertical velocity, and numerics, but less so to the lower boundary conditions of hydrometeor budget equations. The experiments with climatological aerosol distribution show that convective precipitation is suppressed with increasing aerosol amount, consistent with some available observations.

Li, G, Zhang GJ.  2008.  Understanding biases in shortwave cloud radiative forcing in the national center for atmospheric research community atmosphere model (CAM3) during El Nino. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 113   10.1029/2007jd008963   AbstractWebsite

This study aims to understand the weak response of shortwave cloud radiative forcing (SWCF) to El Nino in the NCAR CAM3. Observations from ERBE and CERES show strong negative SWCF in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific during El Nino. The standard CAM3 simulation at T42 resolution severely underestimates this response, with even wrong sign in the eastern Pacific. However, an experimental simulation at the same resolution, but with a modified convection parameterization scheme, simulates the cloud shortwave response to El Nino well, although the improvement in the eastern Pacific is not as significant as in the western and central Pacific. To unravel the mechanistic differences in SWCF response to El Nino between the two simulations, the authors analyze the cloud amount, cloud liquid water path (LWP), cloud ice water path (IWP), and convective and large-scale precipitation. It is shown that positive LWP anomalies are mainly responsible for the improved SWCF response to El Nino in the experimental simulation. Interaction among deep convection, shallow convection and low-level clouds is explored to explain this result. Negative LWP anomalies, largely due to reduced cloud water content and amount of low clouds during El Nino in the standard CAM3, weaken the SWCF response. Comparison with a higher-resolution simulation of CAM3 at T85 shows that the T85 simulation produces realistic SWCF response through greatly increased cloud water and ice content in the middle and upper troposphere, while reduced low-level cloud water content remains a problem.

Wu, XQ, Deng LP, Song XL, Vettoretti G, Peltier WR, Zhang GJ.  2007.  Impact of a modified convective scheme on the Madden-Julian Oscillation and El Nino-Southern Oscillation in a coupled climate model. Geophysical Research Letters. 34   10.1029/2007gl030637   AbstractWebsite

The connection between the intraseasonal Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) and interannual El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has been proposed and investigated for the last two decades. However, many fully coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (GCMs) are still unable to simulate many important characteristics of these two phenomena partly due to the great uncertainty in the representation of subgrid-scale cloud systems. We report herein the simulation of an El Nino in a fully coupled GCM with a modified convection scheme, which captures many of the observed features of the 1997/1998 El Nino event. The representation of convection in the coupled model plays a major role in modeling both interannual ENSO and intraseasonal MJO variability in closer accord with observations, and in reproducing the evolution of 1997/1998 El Nino-type events.

Zhang, GJ, Wang HJ.  2006.  Toward mitigating the double ITCZ problem in NCAR CCSM3. Geophysical Research Letters. 33   10.1029/2005gl025229   AbstractWebsite

The appearance of a spurious Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone south of the equator in the eastern and central equatorial Pacific, in addition to the observed one north of the equator, is a common problem in coupled global climate models. The present study investigates this "double ITCZ'' problem in the NCAR CCSM3. It shows that use of a modified Zhang-McFarlane convection scheme significantly mitigates the double ITCZ problem in boreal summer. This has a profound impact on the simulated sea surface temperature through cloud radiative forcing feedback. Both the warm bias in the southern ITCZ region and the cold bias in the cold tongue over the equator are reduced. Examination of the time series of precipitation, SST and surface energy fluxes shows that, depending on the convection parameterization used, double or single ITCZ emerges quickly within the first few months after the model start.

Mu, MQ, Zhang GJ.  2006.  Energetics of Madden-Julian oscillations in the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Atmosphere Model version 3 (NCAR CAM3). Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 111   10.1029/2005jd007003   AbstractWebsite

This study analyzes the tropical intraseasonal variability and associated Madden-Julian oscillations (MJO) simulated in the National Center for Atmospheric Research Climate Model CAM3 using two versions of the Zhang-McFarlane convection scheme. The results are compared with those from the Xie-Arkin observations and European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) reanalysis. It is shown that modifications to the convection scheme in the model lead to substantial enhancement of the intraseasonal variability and MJO. The spatial scale of the precipitation anomalies associated with intraseasonal variability and MJO is also in better agreement with the Xie-Arkin observations and ECMWF reanalysis. By contrast the intraseasonal variability and MJO in the CAM3 are weak. The analysis of the energetics of intraseasonal variability shows that perturbation kinetic energy (PKE) and its sources and sinks through conversion from potential energy and mean flow and generation from wave energy flux are too strong in the modified CAM3 and too weak in the CAM3 when compared with the reanalysis. It also shows that different mechanisms are responsible for the PKE production in different locations. In convectively active regions, conversion from potential energy and vertical transport are important to the maintenance of the upper troposphere PKE; in convectively suppressed regions, horizontal wave energy flux convergence and barotropic conversion are important. The interaction between convection and large-scale circulation plays an important role in the maintenance of intraseasonal variability and MJO through PKE conversion from potential energy generated by convective heating.

Collier, JC, Zhang GJ.  2005.  US warm-season rainfall in NCAR CAM3: An event-oriented perspective. Geophysical Research Letters. 32   10.1029/2005gl024217   AbstractWebsite

A modified form of the Community Atmosphere Model, ver. 3 (CAM3) developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is validated in its warm-season mean precipitation diurnal cycle for two regions of the United States. For all grid boxes of each region, simulated and observed precipitation records over four four-month periods are separated into discrete precipitation events. These events are binned into mutually-exclusive categories, and the diurnal harmonic for each category is estimated. In this way, the model is validated over the spectrum of precipitation episodes, and biases in the overall seasonal-mean diurnal cycle can be attributed to particular kinds of events. The results of the study indicate that the model's total seasonal precipitation is overwhelmingly weighted in the extremely long events and that these events contain the source of any biases in the seasonal mean.

Zhang, GJ.  2003.  Roles of tropospheric and boundary layer forcing in the diurnal cycle of convection in the U.S. Southern Great Plains. Geophysical Research Letters. 30   10.1029/2003gl018554   AbstractWebsite

This study examines the roles of the tropospheric large-scale forcing, surface sensible and latent heat fluxes and convective inhibition in the diurnal variation of convection in the U. S. Southern Great Plains using data from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program. It is shown that the diurnal variation of the tropospheric large-scale forcing has a strong in-phase relationship with convection, whereas the diurnal variations of surface sensible and latent heat fluxes as well as the thermodynamic properties of the near-surface air are nearly out of phase with that of convection. Both the single column version and the full global model of the NCAR CCM3 are used to test the roles of the tropospheric and boundary layer forcing in the observed diurnal variation of convection. When convection is parameterized based on the tropospheric large-scale forcing, the diurnal variation of convection is in good agreement with the observations.

Zhang, GJ.  2003.  Lagrangian study of cloud properties and their relationships to meteorological parameters over the US southern Great Plains. Journal of Climate. 16:2700-2716.   10.1175/1520-0442(2003)016<2700:lsocpa>;2   AbstractWebsite

Hourly satellite cloud data from 18 June to 18 July 1997 over the U. S. southern Great Plains are analyzed to study the scale-dependent cloud properties and their relationships to atmospheric conditions. The observed clouds are classified into high, midlevel, and low clouds according to their top heights. For each cloud type, contribution to the total cloud amount from clouds of different sizes is determined using a Lagrangian cloud classification scheme. It is found that in this continental, convectively active environment, more than half of the total cloud amount is from high clouds, of which 80% comes from clouds with area >4 x 10(4) km(2). For midlevel clouds, more than 50% of the contribution to cloud amount is from small clouds (e. g., cloud area,4 x 10(4) km(2)). Almost all of the low clouds with significant contribution to cloud amount have spatial scales,4 x 10(4) km(2). This suggests that most of the midlevel and low clouds are of subgrid scale to a typical GCM resolution (T42 or T63). It is further found that cloud radiative properties, such as cloud albedo, outgoing longwave radiation, and cloud radiative forcing, have strong scale dependence. Bigger clouds are brighter and have lower outgoing longwave radiation. These results indicate that contributions to the observed cloud radiative forcing are dominated by large cloud systems. The diurnal variation of the cloud properties is also examined. Using concurrent meteorological analysis from NCEP, possible relationships between cloud properties and prevailing meteorological conditions were sought. It is found that clear relationships exist between cloud properties, such as cloud amount and albedo, and the layer-averaged relative humidity, and the relationships vary with cloud scale. In addition, cloud properties for high clouds are well correlated to vertical velocity in the upper troposphere. More large and highly reflective clouds tend to occur in regions of upward motion. Low clouds have a clear correspondence with the lower-tropospheric static stability and temperature. Large and thick clouds prefer to exist where the lower-tropospheric air is cold, statically more stable, and has high relative humidity.

Tian, BJ, Zhang GJ, Ramanathan V.  2001.  Heat balance in the Pacific warm pool atmosphere during TOGA COARE and CEPEX. Journal of Climate. 14:1881-1893.   10.1175/1520-0442(2001)014<1881:hbitpw>;2   AbstractWebsite

The atmosphere above the western equatorial Pacific warm pool (WP) is an important source for the dynamic and thermodynamic forcing of the atmospheric general circulation. This study uses a high-resolution reanalysis and several observational datasets including Global Precipitation Climatology Project precipitation, Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere (TOGA) Tropical Atmosphere Ocean moored buoys, and Earth Radiation Budget Experiment, TOGA Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Response Experiment (COARE), and Central Equatorial Pacific Experiment (CEPEX) radiation data to examine the details of the dynamical processes that lead to this net positive forcing. The period chosen is the period of two field experiments: TOGA COARE and CEPEX during December 1992-March 1993. The four months used in the study were sufficient to establish that the warm pool atmosphere (WPA) was close to a state of radiative-convective-dynamic equilibrium. The analysis suggests that the large-scale circulation imports about 200 W m(-2) of sensible heat and about 140 W m(-2) of latent energy into the WPA mainly through the low-level mass convergence and exports about 420 W m(-2) potential energy mainly through the upper-level mass divergence. Thus the net effect of the large-scale dynamics is to export about 80 W m(-2) energy out of the WPA and cool the WPA by about 0.8 K day(-1). The dynamic cooling in addition to the radiative cooling of about 0.4 K day(-1) or 40 W m(-2) leads to a net radiative-dynamic cooling of about 1.2 K day(-1) or 120 W m(-2), which should be balanced by convective heating of the same magnitude. The WPA radiative cooling is only about 0.4 K day(-1), which is considerably smaller than previously cited values in the Tropics. This difference is largely due to the cloud radiative forcing (CRF), about 70 W m(-2), associated with the deep convective cirrus clouds in the WPA, which compensates the larger clear sky radiative cooling. Thus moist convection heats the WPA, not only through the direct convective heating, that is, the vertical eddy sensible heat and latent energy transport, but also through the indirect convective heating, that is, the CRF of deep convective clouds. The CRF of the deep convective clouds has a dipole structure, in other words, strong heating of the atmosphere through convergence of longwave radiation and a comparable cooling of the surface through the reduction of shortwave radiation at the surface. As a result, the deep convective clouds enhance the required atmospheric heat transport and reduce the required oceanic heat transport significantly in the WP. A more detailed understanding of these convective processes is required to improve our understanding of the heat transport by the large-scale circulation in the Tropics.

Zhang, GJ, McFarlane NA.  1995.  Sensitivity of climate simulations to the parameterization of cumulus convection in the Canadian climate centre general circulation model. Atmosphere-Ocean. 33:407-446.   10.1080/07055900.1995.9649539   AbstractWebsite

A simplified cumulus parameterization scheme, suitable for use in GCMs, is presented. This parameterization is based on a plume ensemble concept similar to that originally proposed by Arakawa and Schubert (1974). However, it employs three assumptions which significantly simplify the formulation and implementation of the scheme. It is assumed that an ensemble of convective-scale updrafts with associated saturated downdrafts may exist when the atmosphere is locally conditionally unstable in the lower troposphere. However, the updraft ensemble is comprised only of;hose plumes which are sufficiently buoyant to penetrate through this unstable layer. It is assumed that all such plumes have the same upward mass flux at the base of the convective layer. The third assumption is that moist convection, which occurs only when there is convective available potential energy (CAFE) for reversible ascent of an undiluted parcel from the sub-cloud layer, acts to remove CAFE at an exponential rate with a specified adjustment time scale. The performance of the scheme and its sensitivity to choices of disposable parameters is illustrated by presenting results from a series of idealized single-column model tests. These tests demonstrate that the scheme permits establishment of a quasi-equilibrium between large-scale forcing and convective response. However, it is also shown that the strength of convective downdrafts is an important factor in determining the nature of the equilibrium state. Relatively strong down-drafts give rise to an unsteady irregularly fluctuating state characterized by alternate periods of deep and shallow convection. The effect of using the scheme for GCM climate simulations is illustrated by presenting selected results of a multi-year simulation carried out with the Canadian Climate Centre GCM using the new parameterization (the CONV simulation). Comparison of these results with those for a climate simulation made with the standard model (the CONTROL simulation, as documented by McFarlane et al., 1992) reveals the importance of other parameterized processes in determining the ultimate effect of introducing the new convective scheme. The radiative response to changes in the cloudiness regime is particularly important in this regard.