Gu, Y; Liou, KN; Ou, SC; Fovell, R (2011). Cirrus cloud simulations using WRF with improved radiation parameterization and increased vertical resolution. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES, 116, D06119.
The capability of Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model in the simulation of cirrus clouds has been examined, with a focus on the effects of radiative processes and vertical model resolution. We incorporate in WRF a new radiation module, referred to as the Fu-Liou-Gu scheme, which is an improvement and refinement based on the Fu-Liou scheme, particularly in reference to parameterization of the single-scattering properties of ice crystal size and shape. We conducted a number of real-time WRF simulations for cirrus cases that were observed in the coastal and western United States on 29-30 March 2007, and we compared these with available observations from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and GOES visible and IR images over the same areas. Simulation results show that WRF is capable of generating reasonable cirrus cloud fields and their movement and dissipation processes, especially those associated with the large-scale frontal system. Radiative processes are important in cirrus cloud simulations by affecting the vertical thermal structure and hence convection. The newly implemented radiation module, the Fu-Liou-Gu scheme, has been demonstrated to work well in WRF and can be effectively used for studies related to cirrus cloud formation and evolution and aerosol-cloud-radiation interactions. With the newly implemented radiation scheme, the simulations of cloud cover and cloud and ice water path (CWP and IWP) have been improved for cirrus clouds, with a more consistent comparison with the corresponding MODIS observations in terms of CWP and IWP means and CWP frequency distribution, especially for optically thin cirrus with an improvement of about 20% in simulated mean IWP. The model-simulated ice crystal sizes have also been shown to be comparable to those determined from MODIS cloud products. Finally, we have demonstrated that model vertical resolution plays a significant role in cirrus cloud simulation in terms of altering vertical velocity field and the associated regional circulation.