Submitted as: development and technical paper 12 Aug 2021

Submitted as: development and technical paper | 12 Aug 2021

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

The Earth Model Column Collaboratory (EMC2) v1.1: An Open-Source Ground-Based Lidar and Radar Instrument Simulator and Subcolumn Generator for Large-Scale Models

Israel Silber1, Robert C. Jackson2, Ann M. Fridlind3, Andrew S. Ackerman3, Scott Collis2, Johannes Verlinde1, and Jiachen Ding4 Israel Silber et al.
  • 1Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA
  • 2Envrionmental Sciences Divison, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL, USA
  • 3NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY, USA
  • 4Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA

Abstract. Climate models are essential for our comprehensive understanding of Earth's atmosphere and can provide critical insights on future changes decades ahead. Because of these critical roles, today's climate models are continuously being developed and evaluated using constraining observations and measurements obtained by satellites, airborne, and ground-based instruments. Instrument simulators can provide a bridge between the measured or retrieved quantities and their sampling in models and field observations while considering instrument sensitivity limitations. Here we present the Earth Model Column Collaboratory (EMC2), an open-source ground-based lidar and radar instrument simulator and subcolumn generator, specifically designed for large-scale models, in particular climate models, but also applicable to high-resolution model output. EMC2 provides a flexible framework enabling direct comparison of model output with ground-based observations, including generation of subcolumns that may statistically represent finer model spatial resolutions. In addition, EMC2 emulates ground-based (and air- or space-borne) measurements while remaining faithful to large-scale models' physical assumptions implemented in their cloud or radiation schemes. The simulator uses either single particle or bulk particle size distribution lookup tables, depending on the selected scheme approach, to perform the forward calculations. To facilitate model evaluation, EMC2 also includes three hydrometeor classification methods, namely, radar- and sounding-based cloud and precipitation detection and classification, lidar-based phase classification, and a Cloud Feedback Model Intercomparison Project Observational Simulator Package (COSP) lidar simulator emulator. The software is written in Python, is easy to use, and can be straightforwardly customized for different models, radars and lidars.

Following the description of the logic, functionality, features, and software structure of EMC2, we present a case study of highly supercooled mixed-phase cloud based on measurements from the U.S. Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) West Antarctic Radiation Experiment (AWARE). We compare observations with the application of EMC2 to outputs from four configurations of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) climate model (ModelE3) in single-column model (SCM) mode and from a large-eddy simulation (LES) model. We show that two of the four ModelE3 configurations can form and maintain highly supercooled precipitating cloud for several hours, consistent with observations and LES. While our focus is on one of these ModelE3 configurations, which performed slightly better in this case study, both of these configurations and the LES results post-processed with EMC2 generally provide reasonable agreement with observed lidar and radar variables. As briefly demonstrated here, EMC2 can provide a lightweight and flexible framework for comparing the results of both large-scale and high-resolution models directly with observations, with relatively little overhead and multiple options for achieving consistency with model microphysical or radiation scheme physics.

Israel Silber et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on gmd-2021-194', Anonymous Referee #1, 19 Sep 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on gmd-2021-194', Roger Marchand, 14 Oct 2021

Israel Silber et al.

Data sets

AWARE Highly Supercooled Cloud Case Study Model Initialization Files for SCMs Israel Silber

Model code and software

Silber_et_al_EMC²_gmd-2021-194_code_and_data Israel Silber, Robert C. Jackson, Ann M. Fridlind, Andrew S. Ackerman, Scott Collis, Johannes Verlinde, and Jiachen Ding

Israel Silber et al.


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Short summary
The Earth Model Column Collaboratory (EMC2) is an open-source ground-based (and air- or space-borne) lidar and radar simulator and subcolumn generator designed for large-scale models, in particular climate models, applicable also for high-resolution models. EMC2 emulates measurements while remaining faithful to large-scale models' physical assumptions implemented in their cloud or radiation schemes. We demonstrate the use of EMC2 to compare AWARE measurements with the NASA GISS ModelE3 and LES.