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Comparison of model predicted low-level cloud parameters with observations from the BALTEX Bridge Campaigns

NMN van Lipzig, M Schröder, S Crewell, F Ament, J-P Chaboureau, U Löhnert, V Matthias, E van Meijgaard, M Quante, U Willén, W Yen

The BALTEX Bridge Campaigns (BBC), which were held in the Netherlands in 2001 and 2003 around the Cabauw Experimental Site for Atmospheric Research (CESAR), have provided detailed information on clouds. This paper is an illustration of how these measurements can be used to investigate whether state-of-the-art atmospheric models are capable of adequately representing clouds. Here, we focus on shallow low-level clouds with a substantial amount of liquid water. In-situ, ground-based - and satellite remote sensing measurements were compared with the output of three non-hydrostatic regional models (Lokal-Modell, LM; Méso-NH; fifth-generation Mesoscale Model, MM5) and two hydrostatic regional climate models (Regional Atmospheric Climate Model version 2, RACMO2; Rossby Centre Atmospheric Model, RCA). For the two selected days, Méso-NH and MM5 reproduce the measured vertical extent of the shallow clouds, but the liquid water content of the clouds is generally overestimated. In LM and the climate models the inversion is too weak and located at a level too close to the surface. Therefore, the vertical extent of the clouds and the liquid water path are overestimated. A sensitivity integration with RACMO2 shows that the correspondence between model output and measurements can be improved by a doubling of the vertical resolution; this induces an increase in the modelled inversion strength and cloud top pressure. LM and Méso-NH underestimate the lifetime of clouds. A comparison between model output and cloud cover derived from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) indicates that this deficiency is not due to advection of too small cloud systems; it is rather due to an overestimation of the variability in the vertical velocity. All models overestimate the specific humidity near the surface and underestimate it at higher atmospheric levels, indicating that the models underestimate the mixing of moisture in the boundary layer. This deficiency is slightly reduced by inclusion of parameterised shallow convection in the non-hydrostatic models, which enhances the mixing of heat and moisture in the boundary layer. Consequently, the explicitly resolved updrafts weaken resulting in reduced condensation rates and lower liquid water path. The temporal variability of clouds is hardly affected by inclusion of parameterised shallow convection.

Bibliografische gegevens

NMN van Lipzig, M Schröder, S Crewell, F Ament, J-P Chaboureau, U Löhnert, V Matthias, E van Meijgaard, M Quante, U Willén, W Yen. Comparison of model predicted low-level cloud parameters with observations from the BALTEX Bridge Campaigns
published, Atmospheric Research, 2006, 82

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