Received: 12 May 2016 – Accepted for review: 24 May 2016 – Discussion started: 25 May 2016
Abstract. We examine the impact of assumed cloud droplet concentration on the simulated diurnal cycle of rainfall over New Guinea and surrounding seas using convection-permitting numerical simulations with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. The simulations mimic effects of cloud condensation nuclei on cloud and precipitation processes. They follow simulations reported in Hassim et al (ACP 2016) that focused on dynamical aspects, namely the topographic forcing and the off-shore propagation of convective systems that contribute to the observed early-morning rainfall maximum north-east of New Guinea. Simulations reported in this current study apply the bulk cloud microphysics of Thompson et al. with contrasting cloud droplet concentrations of 100 and 1,000 per cc, referred to as pristine and polluted conditions, respectively. Overall, the assumed cloud droplet concentration has a small impact on the simulated convection. This emphasizes the predominant control from the diurnal cycle and the large-scale conditions. Pristine convection results in a 15–20 % larger surface accumulated rainfall over both land and ocean, and a noticeable shift of the cloud top height distribution, a reduction of the contribution of shallow cloudiness (cloud tops below 3 km) and an increase of the population of deep clouds (cloud tops above 9 km). The simulated impact on precipitation and cloud fields is in stark contrast to previous modelling studies that document small enhancement of surface precipitation and significant increase of the cloud top height in polluted conditions. Analysis of microphysical fields suggests that the simulated small enhancement of precipitation in pristine conditions comes from more efficient rain processes below the freezing level and enhanced graupel initiation and growth aloft. The increase of the cloud top height is arguably due to precipitation off-loading increasing cloud buoyancy aloft that has been shown to operate in shallow warm convection. However, the relatively low horizontal resolution and application of the bulk cloud microphysics warrants follow-up studies to assess validity of the impacts documented in the current study.
How to cite. Hassim, M. E. E., Grabowski, W. W., and Lane, T. P.: Impact of aerosols on precipitation over the Maritime Continent simulated by a convection-permitting model, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss. [preprint], https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2016-402, 2016.
Model simulations show that there is more surface rainfall, less shallow clouds below 3 km and more deep clouds above 9 km in pristine air conditions than in a polluted environment, contrary to previous studies. This is due to more efficient rain processes below the freezing level, enhanced ice growth above and the off-loading of precipitation that increases cloud buoyancy aloft. Our results demonstrate that microphysical effects dominate the aerosol impact on rainfall more than cloud dynamics.
Model simulations show that there is more surface rainfall, less shallow clouds below 3 km and...