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Toward assessing the effects of aerosols on deep convection: a numerical study using the WRF-Chemistry model

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Title: Toward assessing the effects of aerosols on deep convection: a numerical study using the WRF-Chemistry model
Author(s): Kaufeld, Wendilyn J.
Advisor(s): Nesbitt, Stephen W.
Department / Program: Atmospheric Sciences
Discipline: Atmospheric Sciences
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.S.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): aerosols convection meteorology numerical modeling
Abstract: As the formative agents of cloud droplets, aerosols play an undeniably important role in the development of clouds and precipitation. Few meteorological models have been developed or adapted to simulate aerosols and their contribution to cloud and precipitation processes. The Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF) has recently been coupled with an atmospheric chemistry suite and is jointly referred to as WRF-Chem, allowing atmospheric chemistry and meteorology to influence each other’s evolution within a mesoscale modeling framework. Provided that the model physics are robust, this framework allows the feedbacks between aerosol chemistry, cloud physics, and dynamics to be investigated. This study focuses on the effects of aerosols on meteorology, specifically, the interaction of aerosol chemical species with microphysical processes represented within the framework of the WRF-Chem. Aerosols are represented by eight size bins using the Model for Simulating Aerosol Interactions and Chemistry (MOSAIC) sectional parameterization, which is linked to the Purdue Lin bulk microphysics scheme. The aim of this study is to examine the sensitivity of deep convective precipitation modeled by the 2D WRF-Chem to varying aerosol number concentration and aerosol type. A systematic study has been performed regarding the effects of aerosols on parameters such as total precipitation, updraft/downdraft speed, distribution of hydrometeor species, and organizational features, within idealized maritime and continental thermodynamic environments. Initial results were obtained using WRFv3.0.1, and a second series of tests were run using WRFv3.2 after several changes to the activation, autoconversion, and Lin et al. microphysics schemes added by the WRF community, as well as the implementation of prescribed vertical levels by the author. The results of WRFv3.2 runs contrasted starkly with WRFv3.0.1 runs. The WRFv3.0.1 runs produced a propagating system resembling a developing squall line, whereas the WRFv3.2 runs did not. The response of total precipitation, updraft/downdraft speeds, and system organization to increasing aerosol concentrations were opposite between runs with different versions of WRF. Results of the WRFv3.2 runs, however, were in better agreement in timing and magnitude of vertical velocity and hydrometeor content with a WRFv3.0.1 run using single-moment Lin et al. microphysics, than WRFv3.0.1 runs with chemistry. One result consistent throughout all simulations was an inhibition in warm-rain processes due to enhanced aerosol concentrations, which resulted in a delay of precipitation onset that ranged from 2-3 minutes in WRFv3.2 runs, and up to 15 minutes in WRFv.3.0.1 runs. This result was not observed in a previous study by Ntelekos et al. (2009) using the WRF-Chem, perhaps due to their use of coarser horizontal and vertical resolution within their experiment. The changes to microphysical processes such as activation and autoconversion from WRFv3.0.1 to WRFv3.2, along with changes in the packing of vertical levels, had more impact than the varying aerosol concentrations even though the range of aerosol tested was greater than that observed in field studies. In order to take full advantage of the input of aerosols now offered by the chemistry module in WRF, the author recommends that a fully double-moment microphysics scheme be linked, rather than the limited double-moment Lin et al. scheme that currently exists. With this modification, the WRF-Chem will be a powerful tool for studying aerosol-cloud interactions and allow comparison of results with other studies using more modern and complex microphysical parameterizations.
Issue Date: 2010-05-19
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/16184
Rights Information: Copyright 2010 Wendilyn Kaufeld
Date Available in IDEALS: 2010-05-19
Date Deposited: May 2010
 

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