Evaluation of a new lightning-produced NOx parameterization for cloud resolving models and its associated uncertainties C. Barthe1,* and M. C. Barth1 1National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA *now at: Laboratoire d'Aérologie, CNRS/Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France
Abstract. A new parameterization of the lightning-produced NOx has been
developed for cloud-resolving models. This parameterization is based on the
unique characteristics of identifying which convective cells are capable of
producing lightning based on a vertical velocity threshold and estimating the
lightning flash rate in each convective cell from the non-precipitation and
precipitation ice mass flux product. Further, the source location is
filamentary instead of volumetric as in most previous parameterizations.
This parameterization has been tested on the 10 July 1996
Stratospheric-Tropospheric Experiment: Radiation, Aerosols and Ozone (STERAO)
storm. Comparisons of the simulated flash rate and NO mixing ratio (control
experiment) with observations at different locations and stages of the storm
show good agreement. An individual flash produces on average 121±41 moles
of NO (7.3±2.5×1025 molecules NO) for the simulated high
cloud base, high shear storm that is dominated by intra-cloud flash activity.
Sensitivity tests have been performed to study the impact of the flash rate,
the cloud-to-ground flash ratio, the flash length, the spatial distribution
of the NO molecules, and the production rate per flash on the NO
concentration and distribution. Results show a strong impact from the flash
rate, the spatial placement of the lightning-NOx source and the
number of moles produced per flash. On the other hand, the simulations show
almost no impact from the different cloud-to-ground (CG) ratios and the
lightning-NOx production rates per CG flash used as input to the
Citation: Barthe, C. and Barth, M. C.: Evaluation of a new lightning-produced NOx parameterization for cloud resolving models and its associated uncertainties, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 8, 4691-4710, doi:10.5194/acp-8-4691-2008, 2008.