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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 18, issue 1 | Copyright
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 13-29, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 03 Jan 2018

Research article | 03 Jan 2018

Effects of model resolution and parameterizations on the simulations of clouds, precipitation, and their interactions with aerosols

Seoung Soo Lee1, Zhanqing Li1, Yuwei Zhang1, Hyelim Yoo2, Seungbum Kim3, Byung-Gon Kim4, Yong-Sang Choi5, Jungbin Mok1, Junshik Um6, Kyoung Ock Choi7, and Danhong Dong8 Seoung Soo Lee et al.
  • 1Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
  • 2Earth Resources Technology, Inc., National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, College Park, MD, USA
  • 3Weather Impact Forecasts Team, Korea Meteorological Administration, Seoul, South Korea
  • 4Department of Atmospheric Environmental Sciences, Gangneung-Wonju National University, Gangneung, Gang-Won do, South Korea
  • 5Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea
  • 6Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, USA
  • 7Cloud Physics Laboratory, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea
  • 8State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

Abstract. This study investigates the roles played by model resolution and microphysics parameterizations in the well-known uncertainties or errors in simulations of clouds, precipitation, and their interactions with aerosols by the numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. For this investigation, we used cloud-system-resolving model (CSRM) simulations as benchmark simulations that adopt high-resolution and full-fledged microphysical processes. These simulations were evaluated against observations, and this evaluation demonstrated that the CSRM simulations can function as benchmark simulations. Comparisons between the CSRM simulations and the simulations at the coarse resolutions that are generally adopted by current NWP models indicate that the use of coarse resolutions as in the NWP models can lower not only updrafts and other cloud variables (e.g., cloud mass, condensation, deposition, and evaporation) but also their sensitivity to increasing aerosol concentration. The parameterization of the saturation process plays an important role in the sensitivity of cloud variables to aerosol concentrations. while the parameterization of the sedimentation process has a substantial impact on how cloud variables are distributed vertically. The variation in cloud variables with resolution is much greater than what happens with varying microphysics parameterizations, which suggests that the uncertainties in the NWP simulations are associated with resolution much more than microphysics parameterizations.

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Short summary
This paper compares the contribution of resolutions with that of parameterizations to errors in the simulations of clouds, precipitation, and their interactions with aerosol in numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. This comparison shows that resolutions contribute to errors to a much greater degree than microphysics parameterizations. This finding provides a useful guideline for how to develop NWP models and has not been discussed in previous studies.
This paper compares the contribution of resolutions with that of parameterizations to errors in...