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Volume 11, issue 20
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 10389-10406, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-11-10389-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 10389-10406, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-11-10389-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 19 Oct 2011

Research article | 19 Oct 2011

Simulating deep convection with a shallow convection scheme

C. Hohenegger1,* and C. S. Bretherton1 C. Hohenegger and C. S. Bretherton
  • 1Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  • *now at: Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany

Abstract. Convective processes profoundly affect the global water and energy balance of our planet but remain a challenge for global climate modeling. Here we develop and investigate the suitability of a unified convection scheme, capable of handling both shallow and deep convection, to simulate cases of tropical oceanic convection, mid-latitude continental convection, and maritime shallow convection. To that aim, we employ large-eddy simulations (LES) as a benchmark to test and refine a unified convection scheme implemented in the Single-column Community Atmosphere Model (SCAM). Our approach is motivated by previous cloud-resolving modeling studies, which have documented the gradual transition between shallow and deep convection and its possible importance for the simulated precipitation diurnal cycle.

Analysis of the LES reveals that differences between shallow and deep convection, regarding cloud-base properties as well as entrainment/detrainment rates, can be related to the evaporation of precipitation. Parameterizing such effects and accordingly modifying the University of Washington shallow convection scheme, it is found that the new unified scheme can represent both shallow and deep convection as well as tropical and mid-latitude continental convection. Compared to the default SCAM version, the new scheme especially improves relative humidity, cloud cover and mass flux profiles. The new unified scheme also removes the well-known too early onset and peak of convective precipitation over mid-latitude continental areas.

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