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2002
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.   10.1256/003590002320373229   AbstractWebsite

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.

2000
Ghan, S, Randall D, Xu KM, Cederwall R, Cripe D, Hack J, Iacobellis S, Klein S, Krueger S, Lohmann U, Pedretti J, Robock A, Rotstayn L, Somerville R, Stenchikov G, Sud Y, Walker G, Xie SC, Yio J, Zhang MH.  2000.  A comparison of single column model simulations of summertime midlatitude continental convection. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 105:2091-2124.   Doi 10.1029/1999jd900971   AbstractWebsite

Eleven different single-column models (SCMs) and one cloud ensemble model (CEM) are driven by boundary conditions observed at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program southern Great Plains site for a 17 day period during the summer of 1995. Comparison of the model simulations reveals common signatures identifiable as products of errors in the boundary conditions. Intermodel differences in the simulated temperature, humidity, cloud, precipitation, and radiative fluxes reflect differences in model resolution or physical parameterizations, although sensitive dependence on initial conditions can also contribute to intermodel differences. All models perform well at times but poorly at others. Although none of the SCM simulations stands out as superior to the others, the simulation by the CEM is in several respects in better agreement with the observations than the simulations by the SCMs. Nudging of the simulated temperature and humidity toward observations generally improves the simulated cloud and radiation fields as well as the simulated temperature and humidity but degrades the precipitation simulation for models with large temperature and humidity biases without nudging. Although some of the intermodel differences have not been explained, others have been identified as model problems that can be or have been corrected as a result of the comparison.

1997
Lee, WH, Iacobellis SF, Somerville RCJ.  1997.  Cloud radiation forcings and feedbacks: General circulation model tests and observational validation. Journal of Climate. 10:2479-2496.   10.1175/1520-0442(1997)010<2479:crfafg>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

Using an atmospheric general circulation model (the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Climate Model: CCM2), the effects on climate sensitivity of several different cloud radiation parameterizations have been investigated. In addition to the original cloud radiation scheme of CCM2, four parameterizations incorporating prognostic cloud water were tested: one version with prescribed cloud radiative properties and three other versions with interactive cloud radiative properties. The authors' numerical experiments employ perpetual July integrations driven by globally constant sea surface temperature forcings of two degrees, both positive and negative. A diagnostic radiation calculation has been applied to investigate the partial contributions of high, middle, and low cloud to the total cloud radiative forcing, as well as the contributions of water vapor, temperature, and cloud to the net climate feedback. The high cloud net radiative forcing is positive, and the middle and low cloud net radiative forcings are negative. The total net cloud forcing is negative in all of the model versions. The effect of interactive cloud radiative properties on global climate sensitivity is significant. The net cloud radiative feedbacks consist of quite different shortwave and longwave components between the schemes with interactive cloud radiative properties and the schemes with specified properties. The increase in cloud water content in the warmer climate leads to optically thicker middle-and low-level clouds and in turn to negative shortwave feedbacks for the interactive radiative schemes, while the decrease in cloud amount simply produces a positive shortwave feedback for the schemes with a specified cloud water path. For the longwave feedbacks, the decrease in high effective cloudiness for the schemes without interactive radiative properties leads to a negative feedback, while for the other cases, the longwave feedback is positive. These cloud radiation parameterizations are empirically validated by using a single-column diagnostic model, together with measurements from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program and from the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Combined Ocean-Atmosphere Response Experiment. The inclusion of prognostic cloud water produces a notable improvement in the realism of the parameterizations, as judged by these observations. Furthermore, the observational evidence suggests that deriving cloud radiative properties from cloud water content and microphysical characteristics is a promising route to further improvement.

1996
Lee, WH, Somerville RCJ.  1996.  Effects of alternative cloud radiation parameterizations in a general circulation model. Annales Geophysicae-Atmospheres Hydrospheres and Space Sciences. 14:107-114.   10.1007/s00585-996-0107-6   AbstractWebsite

Using the National Center for Atmospheric Research (MCAR) general circulation model (CCM2), a suite of alternative cloud radiation parameterizations has been tested. Our methodology relies on perpetual July integrations driven by +/-2 K sea surface temperature forcing. The tested parameterizations include relative humidity based clouds and versions of schemes involving a prognostic cloud water budget. We are especially interested in testing the effect of cloud optical thickness feedbacks on global climate sensitivity. All schemes exhibit negative cloud radiation feedbacks, i.e., cloud moderates the global warming. However, these negative net cloud radiation feedbacks consist of quite different shortwave and longwave components between a scheme with interactive cloud radiative properties and several schemes with specified cloud water paths. An increase in cloud water content in the warmer climate leads to optically thicker middle- and low-level clouds and in turn negative shortwave feedbacks for the interactive radiative scheme, while a decrease in cloud amount leads to a positive shortwave feedback for the other schemes. For the longwave feedbacks, a decrease in high effective cloudiness for the schemes without interactive radiative properties leads to a negative feedback, while no distinct changes in effective high cloudiness and the resulting feedback are exhibited for the scheme with interactive radiative properties. The resulting magnitude of negative net cloud radiation feed-back is largest for the scheme with interactive radiative properties. Even though the simulated values of cloud radiative forcing for the present climate using this method differ most from the observational data, the approach shows great promise for the future.