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Zhang, M, Somerville RCJ, Xie S.  2016.  The SCM concept and creation of ARM forcing datasets. Meteorological Monographs. 57:24.1-24.12.   10.1175/AMSMONOGRAPHS-D-15-0040.1   Abstract

Two papers published in the early 1990s significantly influenced the subsequent design of ARM and its adoption of the single-column model (SCM) approach. The first paper, by Cess et al. (1990), showed a threefold difference in the sensitivity of climate models in a surrogate climate change that is attributed largely to cloud–climate feedbacks. The second paper, by Ellingson et al. (1991), reported 10%–20% difference in the calculated broadband radiation budget and 30%–40% difference in the radiative forcing of greenhouse gases in the radiation codes of climate models. At that time, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) had a program to study the climate impact of the increasing amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Results from these two papers pointed to the major uncertainties in climate forcing and feedbacks of climate models.

Zhang, C, Wang M, Morrison H, Somerville RCJ, Zhang K, Liu X, Li J-LF.  2014.  Investigating ice nucleation in cirrus clouds with an aerosol-enabled Multiscale Modeling Framework. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems. 6:998-1015.   10.1002/2014MS000343   Abstract

In this study, an aerosol-dependent ice nucleation scheme has been implemented in an aerosol-enabled Multiscale Modeling Framework (PNNL MMF) to study ice formation in upper troposphere cirrus clouds through both homogeneous and heterogeneous nucleation. The MMF model represents cloud scale processes by embedding a cloud-resolving model (CRM) within each vertical column of a GCM grid. By explicitly linking ice nucleation to aerosol number concentration, CRM-scale temperature, relative humidity and vertical velocity, the new MMF model simulates the persistent high ice supersaturation and low ice number concentration (10–100/L) at cirrus temperatures. The new model simulates the observed shift of the ice supersaturation PDF toward higher values at low temperatures following the homogeneous nucleation threshold. The MMF model predicts a higher frequency of midlatitude supersaturation in the Southern Hemisphere and winter hemisphere, which is consistent with previous satellite and in situ observations. It is shown that compared to a conventional GCM, the MMF is a more powerful model to simulate parameters that evolve over short time scales such as supersaturation. Sensitivity tests suggest that the simulated global distribution of ice clouds is sensitive to the ice nucleation scheme and the distribution of sulfate and dust aerosols. Simulations are also performed to test empirical parameters related to auto-conversion of ice crystals to snow. Results show that with a value of 250 μm for the critical diameter, Dcs, that distinguishes ice crystals from snow, the model can produce good agreement with the satellite-retrieved products in terms of cloud ice water path and ice water content, while the total ice water is not sensitive to the specification of Dcs value.

Zhao, Z, Kooperman GJ, Pritchard MS, Russell LM, Somerville RCJ.  2014.  Investigating impacts of forest fires in Alaska and western Canada on regional weather over the northeastern United States using CAM5 global simulations to constrain transport to a WRF-Chem regional domain. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. 119:2013JD020973.   10.1002/2013JD020973   AbstractWebsite

An aerosol-enabled globally driven regional modeling system has been developed by coupling the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Community Atmosphere Model version 5 (CAM5) with the Weather Research and Forecasting model with chemistry (WRF-Chem). In this modeling system, aerosol-enabled CAM5, a state-of-the-art global climate model is downscaled to provide coherent meteorological and chemical boundary conditions for regional WRF-Chem simulations. Aerosol particle emissions originating outside the WRF-Chem domain can be a potentially important nonlocal aerosol source. As a test case, the potential impacts of nonlocal forest fire aerosols on regional precipitation and radiation were investigated over the northeastern United States during the summer of 2004. During this period, forest fires in Alaska and western Canada lofted aerosol particles into the midtroposphere, which were advected across the United States. WRF-Chem simulations that included nonlocal biomass burning aerosols had domain-mean aerosol optical depths that were nearly three times higher than those without, which reduced peak downwelling domain-mean shortwave radiation at the surface by ~25 W m−2. In this classic twin experiment design, adding nonlocal fire plume led to near-surface cooling and changes in cloud vertical distribution, while variations in domain-mean cloud liquid water path were negligible. The higher aerosol concentrations in the simulation with the fire plume resulted in a ~10% reduction in domain-mean precipitation coincident with an ~8% decrease in domain-mean CAPE. A suite of simulations was also conducted to explore sensitivities of meteorological feedbacks to the ratio of black carbon to total plume aerosols, as well as to overall plume concentrations. Results from this ensemble revealed that plume-induced near-surface cooling and CAPE reduction occur in a wide range of conditions. The response of moist convection was very complex because of strong thermodynamic internal variability.