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Controls on precipitation and cloudiness in simulations of trade-wind cumulus...

vanZanten, M. C., B. Stevens, L. Nuijens, A. P. Siebesma, A. S. Ackerman, F. Burnet, A. Cheng, F. Couvreux, H. Jiang, M. Khairoutdinov, Y. Kogan, D. C. Lewellen, D. Mechem, K. Nakamura, A. Noda, B. J. Shipway, J. Slawinska, S. Wang, and A. Wyszogrodzki (2011), Controls on precipitation and cloudiness in simulations of trade-wind cumulus as observed during RICO, J. Adv. Model. Earth Syst., 3, doi:10.1029/2011MS000056.

Twelve large-eddy simulations, with a wide range of microphysical representations, are compared to each other and to independent measurements. The measurements and the initial and forcing data for the simulations are taken from the undisturbed period of the Rain in Cumulus over the Ocean (RICO) field study. A regional downscaling of meteorological analyses is performed so as to provide forcing data consistent with the measurements. The ensemble average of the simulations plausibly reproduces many features of the observed clouds, including the vertical structure of cloud fraction, profiles of cloud and rain water, and to a lesser degree the population density of rain drops. The simulations do show considerable departures from one another in the representation of the cloud microphysical structure and the ensuant surface precipitation rates, increasingly so for the more simplified microphysical models. There is a robust tendency for simulations that develop rain to produce a shallower, somewhat more stable cloud layer. Relations between cloud cover and precipitation are ambiguous.

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Research Program: 
Radiation Science Program (RSP)