Mesoscale Modeling of Springtime Arctic Mixed-Phase Stratiform Clouds Using a New Two-Moment Bulk Microphysics Scheme

H. Morrison, J. O. Pinto
2005 Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences  
A new two-moment bulk microphysics scheme is implemented into the polar version of the fifthgeneration Pennsylvania State University-NCAR Mesoscale Model (MM5) to simulate arctic mixed-phase boundary layer stratiform clouds observed during Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic (SHEBA) First International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) Regional Experiment (FIRE) Arctic Cloud Experiment (ACE). The microphysics scheme predicts the number concentrations and mixing ratios of four
more » ... of four hydrometeor species (cloud droplets, small ice, rain, snow) and includes detailed treatments of droplet activation and ice nucleation from a prescribed distribution of aerosol obtained from observations. The model is able to reproduce many features of the observed mixed-phase cloud, including a near-adiabatic liquid water content profile located near the top of a well-mixed boundary layer, droplet number concentrations of about 200-250 cm Ϫ3 that were distributed fairly uniformly through the depth of the cloud, and continuous light snow falling from the cloud base to the surface. The impacts of droplet and ice nucleation, radiative transfer, turbulence, large-scale dynamics, and vertical resolution on the simulated mixed-phase stratiform cloud are examined. The cloud layer is largely self-maintained through strong cloud-top radiative cooling that exceeds 40 K day Ϫ1 . It persists through extended periods of downward large-scale motion that tend to thin the layer and reduce water contents. Droplet activation rates are highest near cloud base, associated with subgrid vertical motion that is diagnosed from the predicted turbulence kinetic energy. A sensitivity test neglecting subgrid vertical velocity produces only weak activation and small droplet number concentrations (Ͻ90 cm Ϫ3 ). These results highlight the importance of parameterizing the impact of subgrid vertical velocity to generate local supersaturation for aerosol-droplet closure. The primary ice nucleation mode in the simulated mixed-phase cloud is contact freezing of droplets. Sensitivity tests indicate that the assumed number and size of contact nuclei can have a large impact on the evolution and characteristics of mixed-phase cloud, especially the partitioning of condensate between droplets and ice.
doi:10.1175/jas3564.1 fatcat:mvtkaqihvzfpbmjx5zdpv325ua