U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Community Atmosphere Model with a Cloud “Superparameterization.”
Published: June 18, 2013
Posted: October 23, 2013

Clouds exist in a vast range of conditions and sizes and are, therefore, notoriously difficult to represent in global climate models. Explicitly simulating the physics of individual clouds in climate models would be prohibitively expensive computationally. Instead, clouds in global models are typically represented using parameterizations, or equations that approximate their subgrid-box effects on the larger climate system. For short simulations or small regional domains, the physics of individual clouds has been included, using an embedded cloud resolving model (CRM). Recently, an intermediate approach, called cloud “superparameterization,” has been developed. A team, including U.S. Department of Energy scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, introduced a cloud superparameterization to the Community Atmosphere Model (CAM). The team’s superparameterization is a two-dimensional version of a CRM that captures the cloud updrafts and downdrafts based on principles of conservation of momentum and energy. Embedded into a global model, the scheme is called a multiscale modeling framework. The particular multiscale modeling framework based on the CAM is called the superparameterized-CAM. Over the past several years, scientists from many institutions have explored the ability of superparameterized-CAM to simulate tropical weather systems, day-night changes of precipitation, Asian and African monsoons, and other climate phenomena. The new model has a stronger physical basis and simulates clouds and cloud-aerosol interactions that are more realistic than simulations with traditional cloud parameterizations, a capability that should improve the ability of climate models to predict climate change.

Reference: Randall, D. A., M. Branson, M. Wang, S. Ghan, C. Craig, A. Gettelman, and D. Edwards. 2013. “A Community Atmosphere Model with Clouds Superparameterized,” Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union 94(25), 221–22. DOI: 10.1002/2013EO250001. (Reference link)

Contact: Dorothy Koch, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0105
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling
  • Research Area: Atmospheric System Research

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)