A method to represent subgrid-scale updraft velocity in kilometer-scale models: Implication for aerosol activation
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
American Geophysical Union
This is the final version of the article. Available from the American Geophysical Union via the DOI in this record.
©2014. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Updraft velocities strongly control the activation of aerosol particles or that component that act as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). For kilometer-scale models, vertical motions are partially resolved but the subgrid-scale (SGS) contribution needs to be parametrized or constrained to properly represent the activation of CCNs. This study presents a method to estimate the missing SGS (or unresolved) contribution to vertical velocity variability in models with horizontal grid sizes up to ∼2 km. A framework based on Large Eddy Simulations (LES) and high-resolution aircraft observations of stratocumulus and shallow cumulus clouds has been developed and applied to output from the United Kingdom Met Office Unified Model (UM) operating at kilometer-scale resolutions in numerical weather prediction configuration. For a stratocumulus deck simulation, we show that the UM 1 km model underestimates significantly the variability of updraft velocity with an averaged cloud base standard deviation between 0.04 and 0.05 m s-1 compared to LES and aircraft estimates of 0.38 and 0.54 m s-1, respectively. Once the SGS variability is considered, the UM corrected averages are between 0.34 and 0.44 m s-1. Off-line calculations of CCN-activated fraction using an activation scheme have been performed to illustrate the implication of including the SGS vertical velocity. It suggests increased CCN-activated fraction from 0.52 to 0.89 (respectively, 0.10 to 0.54) for a clean (respectively, polluted) aerosol environment for simulations with a 1 km horizontal grid size. Our results highlight the importance of representing the SGS vertical velocity in kilometer-scale simulations of aerosol-cloud interactions. Key PointsWe seek to improve the aerosol activation behavior in kilometer-scale modelsA method to constrain the subgrid-scale updraft velocity is presentedWe highlight the potential implication for aerosol-cloud interactions modeling.
This work was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Aerosol-Cloud Interactions—a Directed Programme to Reduce Uncertainty in Forcing (ACID-PRUF) programme, grant code NE/I020121/1. The authors thank the scientists, ground crew and aircrew of the FAAM BAe-146 and C-130 aircraft, who were instrumental in the collection of the data analyzed from the VOCALS-REx campaign. The C-130 data were provided by NCAR/EOL, under sponsorship of the National Science Foundation. http://data.eol. ucar.edu/. The FAAM BAe-146 is jointly funded by the UK Met Office and the Natural Environment Research Council. VOCALS was supported by the UK Met Office and NERC, the latter through grant NE/F019874/1.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 2014, Vol. 119, pp. 4149 - 4173