Characteristics of Mesoscale Organization in WRF Simulations of Convection...

Del Genio, A., J. Wu, and Y. Chen (2012), Characteristics of Mesoscale Organization in WRF Simulations of Convection during TWP-ICE, J. Climate, 25, 5666-5688, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00422.1.

Compared to satellite-derived heating profiles, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies general circulation model (GCM) convective heating is too deep and its stratiform upper-level heating is too weak. This deficiency highlights the need for GCMs to parameterize the mesoscale organization of convection. Cloudresolving model simulations of convection near Darwin, Australia, in weak wind shear environments of different humidities are used to characterize mesoscale organization processes and to provide parameterization guidance. Downdraft cold pools appear to stimulate further deep convection both through their effect on eddy size and vertical velocity. Anomalously humid air surrounds updrafts, reducing the efficacy of entrainment. Recovery of cold pool properties to ambient conditions over 5–6 h proceeds differently over land and ocean. Over ocean increased surface fluxes restore the cold pool to prestorm conditions. Over land surface fluxes are suppressed in the cold pool region; temperature decreases and humidity increases, and both then remain nearly constant, while the undisturbed environment cools diurnally. The upper-troposphere stratiform rain region area lags convection by 5–6 h under humid active monsoon conditions but by only 1–2 h during drier break periods, suggesting that mesoscale organization is more readily sustained in a humid environment. Stratiform region hydrometeor mixing ratio lags convection by 0–2 h, suggesting that it is strongly influenced by detrainment from convective updrafts. Small stratiform region temperature anomalies suggest that a mesoscale updraft parameterization initialized with properties of buoyant detrained air and evolving to a balance between diabatic heating and adiabatic cooling might be a plausible approach for GCMs.

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Atmospheric Dynamics and Precipitation Program (ADP)
Modeling Analysis and Prediction Program (MAP)