Examining the Vertical Structure of Clouds Systems in CAM5 Using Simulated Cloudsat Radar Reflectivities with Estimated Uncertainties from Precipitation Distribution

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Yuying Zhang1, Stephen A Klein2 and Hsi-Yen Ma1, (1)Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA, United States, (2)Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, Livermore, CA, United States
Climate models have difficulties in correctly simulating clouds and precipitation. It is critical to know the internal structure of clouds and precipitation since it is the vertical distribution of condensate that determines the characteristics of the cloud radiative forcing and lends insight into the vertical structure of condensation heating, which have large impact on the evolution of cloud systems. Cloudsat and CALIPSO provide the unprecedented data that allow us to look at detailed cloud and precipitation structures. In this study, we examine the vertical distribution of clouds and precipitation in CAM5 using simulated CloudSat radar reflectivities. Our focus is to evaluate how well the model simulated clouds over several different important cloud regimes and estimate the effects of simulator uncertainties from precipitation sub-column distribution. The selected regimes include TWP, Southern Ocean, and Australian stratus region. The impacts of different assumptions used to assign precipitation to sub-columns are examined, and the uncertainties from precipitation distribution are analyzed.

This work was performed under the auspices of the U. S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under contract DE-AC52-07NA27344.