Microphysical variability of Amazonian deep convective cores observed by CloudSat and simulated by a multi-scale modeling framework

Dodson, J. Brant; Taylor, Patrick C.; Branson, Mark

Recently launched cloud observing satellites provide information about the vertical structure of deep convection and its microphysical characteristics. In this study, CloudSat reflectivity data is stratified by cloud type, and the contoured frequency by altitude diagrams reveal a double-arc structure in deep convective cores (DCCs) above 8 km. This suggests two distinct hydrometeor modes (snow versus hail/graupel) controlling variability in reflectivity profiles. The day–night contrast in the double arcs is about four times larger than the wet–dry season contrast. Using QuickBeam, the vertical reflectivity structure of DCCs is analyzed in two versions of the Superparameterized Community Atmospheric Model (SP-CAM) with single-moment (no graupel) and double-moment (with graupel) microphysics. Double-moment microphysics shows better agreement with observed reflectivity profiles; however, neither model variant captures the double-arc structure. Ultimately, the results show that simulating realistic DCC vertical structure and its variability requires accurate representation of ice microphysics, in particular the hail/graupel modes, though this alone is insufficient.

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Dodson, J. Brant / Taylor, Patrick C. / Branson, Mark: Microphysical variability of Amazonian deep convective cores observed by CloudSat and simulated by a multi-scale modeling framework. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: J. Brant Dodson et al.

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