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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2017-501
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
06 Jun 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Effects of model resolution and parameterizations on the simulations of clouds, precipitation, and their interactions with aerosols
Seoung Soo Lee1, Zhanqing Li1, Yuwei Zhang1, and Hyelim Yoo2 1Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
2Earth Resources Technology, Inc., National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, College Park, Maryland
Abstract. This study investigates the effects of model resolution and microphysics parameterizations on the uncertainties or errors in the simulations of clouds, precipitation, and their interactions with aerosols using the Global Forecast System (GFS) model as one of the representative numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. For this investigation, we used the GFS model results and compare them with those from the cloud-system resolving model (CSRM) simulations as benchmark simulations that adopt high resolutions and full-fledged microphysical processes. These simulations were evaluated against observations and this evaluation demonstrated that the CSRM simulations can function as benchmark simulations. Substantially lower updrafts and associated cloud variables (e.g., cloud mass and condensation) were simulated by the GFS model compared to those simulated by the CSRM. This is mainly due to the coarse resolutions in the GFS model. This indicates that the parameterizations that represent sub-grid processes in the GFS model do not work well and thus need to be improved. Results here also indicate that the use of the coarse resolution in the GFS model lowers the sensitivity of updrafts and cloud variables to increasing aerosol concentrations compared to the CSRM simulations. The parameterization of the saturation process plays an important role in the sensitivity of cloud variables to aerosol concentrations while the parameterization of the sedimentation process has a substantial impact on how cloud variables are distributed vertically. The variation in cloud variables with resolution is much greater and contributes to the discrepancy between the GFS and CSRM simulations to a much greater degree than what happens with varying microphysics parameterizations.

Citation: Lee, S. S., Li, Z., Zhang, Y., and Yoo, H.: Effects of model resolution and parameterizations on the simulations of clouds, precipitation, and their interactions with aerosols, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2017-501, in review, 2017.
Seoung Soo Lee et al.
Seoung Soo Lee et al.

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Short summary
This paper compares the contribution of resolutions to errors in the simulations of clouds, precipitation and their interactions with aerosol by the numerical weather prediction (NWP) models with that of parameterizations. This comparison shows that resolutions contribute to errors to a much greater degree than microphysics parameterizations. This finding provides a useful guideline of how to develop the NWP models and has not been discussed in the previous studies.
This paper compares the contribution of resolutions to errors in the simulations of clouds,...
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