Intercomparison and evaluation of cumulus parametrizations under summertime midlatitude continental conditions

Xie, SC, Xu KM, Cederwall RT, Bechtold P, Delgenio AD, Klein SA, Cripe DG, Ghan SJ, Gregory D, Iacobellis SF, Krueger SK, Lohmann U, Petch JC, Randall DA, Rotstayn LD, Somerville RCJ, Sud YC, Von Salzen K, Walker GK, Wolf A, Yio JJ, Zhang GJ, Zhang MG.  2002.  Intercomparison and evaluation of cumulus parametrizations under summertime midlatitude continental conditions. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 128:1095-1135.

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Continental cumulus convection, flux convection, general-circulation model, large-scale environment, moisture budgets, relaxed arakawa-schubert, scheme, single-column models, squall line, stratiform clouds, toga-coare, tropical cloud clusters


This study reports the Single-Column Model (SCM) part of the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM)/the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) Cloud System Study (GCSS) joint SCM and Cloud-Resolving Model (CRM) Case 3 intercomparison study, with a focus on evaluation Of Cumulus parametrizations used in SCMs. Fifteen SCMs are evaluated under summertime midlatitude continental conditions using data collected at the ARM Southern Great Plains site during the summer 1997 Intensive Observing Period. Results from ten CRMs are also used to diagnose problems in the SCMs. It is shown that most SCMs can generally capture well the convective events that were well-developed within the SCM domain, while most of them have difficulties in simulating the occurrence of those convective events that only occurred within a small part of the domain. All models significantly underestimate the surface stratiform precipitation. A third of them produce large errors in surface precipitation and thermodynamic structures. Deficiencies in convective triggering mechanisms are thought to be one of the major reasons. Using a triggering mechanism that is based on the vertical integral of parcel buoyant energy without additional appropriate constraints results in overactive convection, which in turn leads to large systematic warm/dry biases in the troposphere. It is also shown that a non-penetrative convection scheme can underestimate the depth of instability for midlatitude convection, which leads to large systematic cold/moist biases in the troposphere. SCMs agree well quantitatively with CRMs in the updraught mass fluxes, while most models significantly underestimate the downdraught mass fluxes. Neglect of mesoscale updraught and downdraught mass fluxes in the SCMs contributes considerably to the discrepancies between the SCMs and the CRMs. In addition, uncertainties in the diagnosed mass fluxes in the CRMs and deficiencies with cumulus parametrizations are not negligible. Similar results are obtained in the sensitivity tests when different forcing approaches are used. Finally. sensitivity tests from an SCM indicate that its simulations can be greatly improved when its triggering mechanism and closure assumption are improved.