Articles | Volume 17, issue 9
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 5947–5972, 2017
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 5947–5972, 2017

Research article 15 May 2017

Research article | 15 May 2017

Derivation of aerosol profiles for MC3E convection studies and use in simulations of the 20 May squall line case

Ann M. Fridlind1, Xiaowen Li2,3, Di Wu3,4, Marcus van Lier-Walqui1,5, Andrew S. Ackerman1, Wei-Kuo Tao3, Greg M. McFarquhar6, Wei Wu6, Xiquan Dong7, Jingyu Wang7, Alexander Ryzhkov8, Pengfei Zhang8, Michael R. Poellot9, Andrea Neumann9, and Jason M. Tomlinson10 Ann M. Fridlind et al.
  • 1NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, 2880 Broadway, New York, NY, USA
  • 2Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD, USA
  • 3Mesoscale Atmospheric Processes Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 4Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Lanham, MD, USA
  • 5Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
  • 6Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA
  • 7Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
  • 8Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, and National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, OK, USA
  • 9Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, USA
  • 10Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA

Abstract. Advancing understanding of deep convection microphysics via mesoscale modeling studies of well-observed case studies requires observation-based aerosol inputs. Here, we derive hygroscopic aerosol size distribution input profiles from ground-based and airborne measurements for six convection case studies observed during the Midlatitude Continental Convective Cloud Experiment (MC3E) over Oklahoma. We demonstrate use of an input profile in simulations of the only well-observed case study that produced extensive stratiform outflow on 20 May 2011. At well-sampled elevations between −11 and −23 °C over widespread stratiform rain, ice crystal number concentrations are consistently dominated by a single mode near ∼ 400 µm in randomly oriented maximum dimension (Dmax). The ice mass at −23 °C is primarily in a closely collocated mode, whereas a mass mode near Dmax ∼ 1000 µm becomes dominant with decreasing elevation to the −11 °C level, consistent with possible aggregation during sedimentation. However, simulations with and without observation-based aerosol inputs systematically overpredict mass peak Dmax by a factor of 3–5 and underpredict ice number concentration by a factor of 4–10. Previously reported simulations with both two-moment and size-resolved microphysics have shown biases of a similar nature. The observed ice properties are notably similar to those reported from recent tropical measurements. Based on several lines of evidence, we speculate that updraft microphysical pathways determining outflow properties in the 20 May case are similar to a tropical regime, likely associated with warm-temperature ice multiplication that is not well understood or well represented in models.

Short summary
Understanding observed storm microphysics via computer simulation requires measurements of aerosol on which most hydrometeors form. We prepare aerosol input data for six storms observed over Oklahoma. We demonstrate their use in simulations of a case with widespread ice outflow well sampled by aircraft. Simulations predict too few ice crystals that are too large. We speculate that microphysics found in tropical storms occurred here, likely associated with poorly understood ice multiplication.
Final-revised paper