The microphysics of clouds over the Antarctic Peninsula – Part 2: modelling aspects within Polar WRF

The first intercomparisons of cloud microphysics schemes implemented in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) mesoscale atmospheric model (version 3.5.1) are performed in the Antarctic Peninsula using the polar version of WRF (Polar WRF) at 5 km resolution, along with comparisons to the British Antarctic Survey's aircraft measurements (presented in Part 1 of this work, Lachlan-Cope et al., 2016). This study follows previous works suggesting the misrepresentation of the cloud thermodynamic phase in order to explain large radiative biases derived at the surface in Polar WRF continent-wide, and in the Polar WRF-based operational forecast model Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System (AMPS) over the Larsen C Ice shelf. Several cloud microphysics schemes are investigated: the WRF Single-Moment 5-class scheme (WSM5), the WRF Double-Moment 6-class scheme (WDM6), the Morrison double-moment scheme, the Thompson scheme, and the Milbrandt- Yau Double-Moment 7-class scheme. WSM5 used in AMPS struggles the most to capture the observed supercooled liquid phase mainly because of their ice nuclei parameterisation overestimating the number of activated crystals, while other micro- physics schemes (but not WSM5's upgraded version, WDM6) manage much better to do so. The best performing scheme is the Morrison scheme for its better average prediction of occurrences of clouds, and cloud phase, as well as its lowest surface radiative bias over the Larsen C ice shelf in the infrared. This is important for surface energy budget consideration with Polar WRF since the cloud radiative effect is more pronounced in the infrared over icy surfaces. However, our investigation shows that all the schemes fail at simulating the supercooled liquid mass at some temperatures (altitudes) where observations show evidence of its persistence. An ice nuclei parameterisation relying on both temperature and aerosol content like DeMott et al. (2010) (not currently used in WRF cloud schemes) is in best agreement with the observations, at temperatures and aerosol concentration characteristic of the Antarctic Peninsula where the primary ice production occurs (Part 1), compared to parame- terisation only relying on the atmospheric temperature (used by the WRF cloud schemes). Overall, a realistic ice microphysics implementation is paramount to the correct representation of the supercooled liquid phase in Antarctic clouds.


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Authors: Listowski, Constantino, Lachlan-Cope, Tom ORCIDORCID record for Tom Lachlan-Cope

On this site: Constantino Listowski, Thomas Lachlan-Cope
31 August, 2017
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics / 17
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