Articles | Volume 5, issue 1
Model description paper
26 Jan 2012
Model description paper |  | 26 Jan 2012

CELLS v1.0: updated and parallelized version of an electrical scheme to simulate multiple electrified clouds and flashes over large domains

C. Barthe, M. Chong, J.-P. Pinty, C. Bovalo, and J. Escobar

Abstract. The paper describes the fully parallelized electrical scheme CELLS which is suitable to simulate explicitly electrified storm systems on parallel computers. Our motivation here is to show that a cloud electricity scheme can be developed for use on large grids with complex terrain. Large computational domains are needed to perform real case meteorological simulations with many independent convective cells.

The scheme computes the bulk electric charge attached to each cloud particle and hydrometeor. Positive and negative ions are also taken into account. Several parametrizations of the dominant non-inductive charging process are included and an inductive charging process as well. The electric field is obtained by inverting the Gauss equation with an extension to terrain-following coordinates. The new feature concerns the lightning flash scheme which is a simplified version of an older detailed sequential scheme. Flashes are composed of a bidirectional leader phase (vertical extension from the triggering point) and a phase obeying a fractal law (with horizontal extension on electrically charged zones). The originality of the scheme lies in the way the branching phase is treated to get a parallel code.

The complete electrification scheme is tested for the 10 July 1996 STERAO case and for the 21 July 1998 EULINOX case. Flash characteristics are analysed in detail and additional sensitivity experiments are performed for the STERAO case. Although the simulations were run for flat terrain conditions, they show that the model behaves well on multiprocessor computers. This opens a wide area of application for this electrical scheme with the next objective of running real meterological case on large domains.