EPA Science Inventory

Increasing the credibility of regional climate simulations by introducing subgrid-scale cloud – radiation interactions

Citation:

Herwehe, J., Kiran Alapaty, T. Otte, AND C. Nolte. Increasing the credibility of regional climate simulations by introducing subgrid-scale cloud – radiation interactions. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES. American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC, 119(9):5317-5330, (2014).

Description:

The radiation schemes in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model have previously not accounted for the presence of subgrid-scale cumulus clouds, thereby resulting in unattenuated shortwave radiation, which can lead to overly energetic convection and overpredicted surface precipitation. This deficiency can become problematic when applying WRF as a regional climate model (RCM). Therefore, modifications were made to the WRF model to allow the Kain–Fritsch (KF) convective parameterization to provide subgrid-scale cloud fraction and condensate feedback to the rapid radiative transfer model–global (RRTMG) shortwave and longwave radiation schemes. The effects of these changes are analyzed via 3 year simulations using the standard and modified versions of WRF, comparing the modeled results with the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) and Climate Forecast System Reanalysis data, as well as with available data from the Surface Radiation Network and Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System. During the summer period, including subgrid cloudiness estimated by KF in the RRTMG reduces the surface shortwave radiation, leading to less buoyant energy, which is reflected in a smaller diabatic convective available potential energy, thereby alleviating the overly energetic convection. Overall, these changes have reduced the overprediction of monthly, regionally averaged precipitation during summer for this RCM application, e.g., by as much as 49 mm for the southeastern U.S., to within 0.7% of the NARR value of 221 mm. These code modifications have been incorporated as an option available in the latest version of WRF (v3.6).

Purpose/Objective:

The National Exposure Research Laboratory’s Atmospheric Modeling Division (AMAD) conducts research in support of EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment. AMAD’s research program is engaged in developing and evaluating predictive atmospheric models on all spatial and temporal scales for forecasting the Nation’s air quality and for assessing changes in air quality and air pollutant exposures, as affected by changes in ecosystem management and regulatory decisions. AMAD is responsible for providing a sound scientific and technical basis for regulatory policies based on air quality models to improve ambient air quality. The models developed by AMAD are being used by EPA, NOAA, and the air pollution community in understanding and forecasting not only the magnitude of the air pollution problem, but also in developing emission control policies and regulations for air quality improvements.

URLs/Downloads:

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Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 08/01/2014
Completion Date: 08/01/2014
Record Last Revised: 08/01/2014
Record Created: 08/01/2014
Record Released: 08/01/2014
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 282753

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LAB

ATMOSPHERIC MODELING DIVISION