Articles | Volume 8, issue 2
Development and technical paper
24 Feb 2015
Development and technical paper |  | 24 Feb 2015

A new WRF-Chem treatment for studying regional-scale impacts of cloud processes on aerosol and trace gases in parameterized cumuli

L. K. Berg, M. Shrivastava, R. C. Easter, J. D. Fast, E. G. Chapman, Y. Liu, and R. A. Ferrare

Abstract. A new treatment of cloud effects on aerosol and trace gases within parameterized shallow and deep convection, and aerosol effects on cloud droplet number, has been implemented in the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry (WRF-Chem) version 3.2.1 that can be used to better understand the aerosol life cycle over regional to synoptic scales. The modifications to the model include treatment of the cloud droplet number mixing ratio; key cloud microphysical and macrophysical parameters (including the updraft fractional area, updraft and downdraft mass fluxes, and entrainment) averaged over the population of shallow clouds, or a single deep convective cloud; and vertical transport, activation/resuspension, aqueous chemistry, and wet removal of aerosol and trace gases in warm clouds. These changes have been implemented in both the WRF-Chem chemistry packages as well as the Kain–Fritsch (KF) cumulus parameterization that has been modified to better represent shallow convective clouds. Testing of the modified WRF-Chem has been completed using observations from the Cumulus Humilis Aerosol Processing Study (CHAPS). The simulation results are used to investigate the impact of cloud–aerosol interactions on regional-scale transport of black carbon (BC), organic aerosol (OA), and sulfate aerosol. Based on the simulations presented here, changes in the column-integrated BC can be as large as −50% when cloud–aerosol interactions are considered (due largely to wet removal), or as large as +40% for sulfate under non-precipitating conditions due to sulfate production in the parameterized clouds. The modifications to WRF-Chem are found to account for changes in the cloud droplet number concentration (CDNC) and changes in the chemical composition of cloud droplet residuals in a way that is consistent with observations collected during CHAPS. Efforts are currently underway to port the changes described here to the latest version of WRF-Chem, and it is anticipated that they will be included in a future public release of WRF-Chem.

Short summary
This work presents a new methodology for representing regional-scale impacts of cloud processing on both aerosol and trace gases in sub-grid-scale convective clouds. Using the new methodology, we can better simulate the aerosol lifecycle over large areas. The results presented in this work highlight the potential change in column-integrated amounts of black carbon, organic aerosol, and sulfate aerosol, which were found to range from -50% for black carbon to +40% for sulfate.