Evaluation of Warm-Rain Microphysical Parameterizations in Cloudy Boundary Layer Transitions

Monday, 15 December 2014
Kevin Nelson and David B Mechem, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, United States
Common warm-rain microphysical parameterizations used for marine boundary layer (MBL) clouds are either tuned for specific cloud types (e.g., the Khairoutdinov and Kogan 2000 parameterization, “KK2000”) or are altogether ill-posed (Kessler 1969). An ideal microphysical parameterization should be “unified” in the sense of being suitable across MBL cloud regimes that include stratocumulus, cumulus rising into stratocumulus, and shallow trade cumulus. The recent parameterization of Kogan (2013, “K2013”) was formulated for shallow cumulus but has been shown in a large-eddy simulation environment to work quite well for stratocumulus as well. We report on our efforts to implement and test this parameterization into a regional forecast model (NRL COAMPS). Results from K2013 and KK2000 are compared with the operational Kessler parameterization for a 5-day period of the VOCALS–REx field campaign, which took place over the southeast Pacific. We focus on both the relative performance of the three parameterizations and also on how they compare to the VOCALS–REx observations from the NOAA R/V Ronald H. Brown, in particular estimates of boundary-layer depth, liquid water path (LWP), cloud base, and area-mean precipitation rate obtained from C-band radar.