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Using Multi-scale Modeling System to Study the Interactions between Clouds, Precipitation, Aerosols, Radiation and Land Surface

By Wei-Kuo Tao


Numerical cloud models, which are based the non-hydrostatic equations of motion, have been extensively applied to cloud-scale and mesoscale processes during the past four decades. Because cloud-scale dynamics are treated explicitly, uncertainties stemming from convection that have to be parameterized in (hydrostatic) large-scale models are obviated, or at least mitigated, in cloud models. Global models will use the non-hydrostatic framework when their horizontal resolution becomes about 10 km, the theoretical limit for the hydrostatic approximation. This juncture will be reached one to two decades from now. Over the past generation, voluminous datasets on atmospheric convection have been accumulated from radar, instrumented aircraft, satellites, and rawinsonde measurements in field campaigns, enabling the detailed evaluation of models. Improved numerical methods have resulted in more accurate and efficient dynamical cores in models. Improvements have been made in the parameterizations of microphysical processes, radiation, boundary-layer effects, and turbulence; however, microphysical parameterizations remain a major source of uncertainty in all classes of atmospheric models. In recent years, exponentially increasing computer power has extended cloud-resolving-model integrations from hours to months, the number of computational grid points from less than a thousand to close to ten million. Three-dimensional models are now more prevalent. Much attention is devoted to precipitating cloud systems where the crucial 1-km scales are resolved in horizontal domains as large as 10,000 km in two-dimensions, and 1,000 x 1,000 sq km in three-dimensions. Cloud models now provide statistical information useful for developing more realistic physically based parameterizations for climate models and numerical weather prediction models. It is also expected that NWP and mesoscale model can be run in grid size similar to cloud resolving model through nesting technique. A review of developments, improvements and applications of cloud models (GCE and WRF) at Goddard will be presented in this talk. In particular, a new approach to using multi-scale modeling system to study the interactions between clouds, precipitation, aerosols and land will be presented

Topics: Meteorology and Climatology
Year: 2006
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