Articles | Volume 11, issue 8
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 3731–3742, 2011
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 3731–3742, 2011

Research article 21 Apr 2011

Research article | 21 Apr 2011

Toward unification of the multiscale modeling of the atmosphere

A. Arakawa*,1, J.-H. Jung2, and C.-M. Wu1 A. Arakawa et al.
  • 1University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA
  • 2Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
  • *Invited contribution by A. Arakawa, recipient of the EGU Vilhelm Bjerknes Medal 2010.

Abstract. As far as the representation of deep moist convection is concerned, only two kinds of model physics are used at present: highly parameterized as in the conventional general circulation models (GCMs) and explicitly simulated as in the cloud-resolving models (CRMs). Ideally, these two kinds of model physics should be unified so that a continuous transition of model physics from one kind to the other takes place as the resolution changes. With such unification, the GCM can converge to a global CRM (GCRM) as the grid size is refined. This paper suggests two possible routes to achieve the unification. ROUTE I continues to follow the parameterization approach, but uses a unified parameterization that is applicable to any horizontal resolutions between those typically used by GCMs and CRMs. It is shown that a key to construct such a unified parameterization is to eliminate the assumption of small fractional area covered by convective clouds, which is commonly used in the conventional cumulus parameterizations either explicitly or implicitly. A preliminary design of the unified parameterization is presented, which demonstrates that such an assumption can be eliminated through a relatively minor modification of the existing mass-flux based parameterizations. Partial evaluations of the unified parameterization are also presented. ROUTE II follows the "multi-scale modeling framework (MMF)" approach, which takes advantage of explicit representation of deep moist convection and associated cloud-scale processes by CRMs. The Quasi-3-D (Q3-D) MMF is an attempt to broaden the applicability of MMF without necessarily using a fully three-dimensional CRM. This is accomplished using a network of cloud-resolving grids with large gaps. An outline of the Q3-D algorithm and highlights of preliminary results are reviewed.

Final-revised paper