Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2020-297
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2020-297

Submitted as: development and technical paper 06 Jan 2021

Submitted as: development and technical paper | 06 Jan 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

Towards an improved treatment of cloud-radiation interaction in weather and climate models: exploring the potential of the Tripleclouds method for various cloud types using libRadtran 2.0.4

Nina Črnivec and Bernhard Mayer Nina Črnivec and Bernhard Mayer
  • Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Meteorological Institute, Munich, Germany

Abstract. Although the representation of unresolved clouds in radiation schemes of coarse-resolution weather and climate models has progressed noticeably over the past years, a lot of room remains for improvement, as the current picture is by no means complete. The main objective of the present study is to advance the cloud-radiation interaction parameterization, focusing on the issues related to model misrepresentation of cloud horizontal inhomogeneity. This subject is addressed with the state-of-the-art Tripleclouds radiative solver, the fundamental feature of which is the inclusion of the optically thicker and thinner cloud fraction, where the thicker is associated with the presence of convective updraft elements. The research challenge is to optimally set the pair of cloud condensates characterizing the two cloudy regions and the corresponding geometrical split of layer cloudiness. A diverse cloud field data set was collected for the analysis, comprising case studies of stratocumulus, cirrus and cumulonimbus. The primary goal is to assess the validity of global cloud variability estimate along with various condensate distribution assumptions. More sophisticated parameterizations are subsequently explored, optimizing the treatment of overcast as well as extremely heterogeneous cloudiness. The radiative diagnostics including atmospheric heating rate and net surface flux are consistently studied using the Tripleclouds method, evaluated against a three-dimensional radiation computation. The performance of Tripleclouds mostly significantly surpasses the conventional calculation on horizontally homogeneous cloudiness. The effect of horizontal photon transport is further quantified. The overall conclusions are intrinsically different for each particular cloud type, encouraging endeavors to enhance the use of cloud regime dependent methodologies in next-generation atmospheric models. This study highlighting the Tripleclouds potential for three essential cloud types signifies the need for more research examining a broader spectrum of cloud morphologies.

Nina Črnivec and Bernhard Mayer

Status: open (until 03 Mar 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Nina Črnivec and Bernhard Mayer

Data sets

Code and data for GMD article: "Towards an improved treatment of cloud-radiation interaction in weather and climate models: exploring the potential of the Tripleclouds method for various cloud types using libRadtran 2.0.4" Nina Črnivec and Bernhard Mayer https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4262916

Model code and software

Code and data for GMD article: "Towards an improved treatment of cloud-radiation interaction in weather and climate models: exploring the potential of the Tripleclouds method for various cloud types using libRadtran 2.0.4" Nina Črnivec and Bernhard Mayer https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4262916

Nina Črnivec and Bernhard Mayer

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Short summary
This study aims to advance the cloud-radiation interplay treatment in global weather and climate prediction, focusing on cloud horizontal inhomogeneity misrepresentation. We explore the potential of the Tripleclouds method for diverse cloud types, namely the stratocumulus, cirrus and cumulonimbus. The validity of global cloud variability estimate with various condensate distribution assumptions is assessed. Optimizations for overcast and extremely heterogeneous cloudiness are further endorsed.