Articles | Volume 12, issue 22
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 10679–10692, 2012
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 10679–10692, 2012

Research article 16 Nov 2012

Research article | 16 Nov 2012

Sensitivity of cirrus and mixed-phase clouds to the ice nuclei spectra in McRAS-AC: single column model simulations

R. Morales Betancourt1, D. Lee2,3, L. Oreopoulos3, Y. C. Sud3, D. Barahona4, and A. Nenes1,5 R. Morales Betancourt et al.
  • 1School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  • 2USRA Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research, 10211 Wincopin Circle, Suite 500, Columbia, Maryland 21044, USA
  • 3NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771, USA
  • 4NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, I.M. Systems Group, Maryland, USA
  • 5School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Abstract. The salient features of mixed-phase and ice clouds in a GCM cloud scheme are examined using the ice nucleation parameterizations of Liu and Penner (LP) and Barahona and Nenes (BN). The performance of both parameterizations was assessed in the GEOS-5 AGCM using the McRAS-AC cloud microphysics framework in single column mode. Four dimensional assimilated data from the intensive observation period of ARM TWP-ICE campaign was used to drive the fluxes and lateral forcing. Simulation experiments were established to test the impact of each parameterization in the resulting cloud fields. Three commonly used IN spectra were utilized in the BN parameterization to describe the availability of IN for heterogeneous ice nucleation. The results showed large similarities in the cirrus cloud regime between all the schemes tested, in which ice crystal concentrations were within a factor of 10 regardless of the parameterization used. In mixed-phase clouds there were some persistent differences in cloud particle number concentration and size, as well as in cloud fraction, ice water mixing ratio, and ice water path. Contact freezing in the simulated mixed-phase clouds contributed to the effective transfer of liquid to ice, so that on average, the clouds were fully glaciated at T 260 K, irrespective of the ice nucleation parameterization used. Comparison of simulated ice water path to available satellite derived observations were also performed, finding that all the schemes tested with the BN parameterization predicted average values of IWP within ±15% of the observations.

Final-revised paper