Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-3149
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-3149
04 Jan 2024
 | 04 Jan 2024

Understanding Aerosol-Cloud Interactions in a Single-Column Model: Intercomparison with Process-Level Models and Evaluation against ACTIVATE Field Measurements

Shuaiqi Tang, Hailong Wang, Xiang-Yu Li, Jingyi Chen, Armin Sorooshian, Xubin Zeng, Ewan Crosbie, Kenneth L. Thornhill, Luke D. Ziemba, and Christiane Voigt

Abstract. Marine boundary-layer clouds play a critical role in the Earth’s energy balance. Their microphysical and radiative properties are highly impacted by ambient aerosols and dynamical forcings. In this study, we evaluate the representation of these clouds and related aerosol-cloud interactions processes in the single-column version of E3SM climate model (SCM), against field measurements collected during the NASA ACTIVATE campaign over the western North Atlantic, as well as intercompare with high-resolution process-level models. Results show that E3SM-SCM, driven by the ERA5 reanalysis, reproduces the cloud properties as good as the high-resolution WRF simulations. For stronger surface forcings combined with a weaker subsidence taken from a WRF cloud-resolving simulation, both E3SM-SCM and WRF large-eddy simulation produce thicker clouds. This indicates that a proper combination of large-scale dynamics, sub-grid scale parameterizations, and model configurations is needed to obtain optimal performance of cloud simulations. In the E3SM-SCM sensitivity tests with fixed dynamics but perturbed aerosol properties, higher aerosol number concentration leads to more numerous but smaller cloud droplets, resulting in a stronger shortwave cloud forcing (i.e., stronger radiative cooling). This apparent Twomey effect is consistent with prior climate model studies. Cloud liquid water path shows a weakly positive relation with cloud droplet number concentration associated with precipitation suppression, which is different from the nonlinear relation approximated from prior observations and E3SM studies, warranting future investigation. Our findings indicate that the SCM framework is a key tool to bridge the gap between climate models, high-resolution models, and field observations to facilitate process-level understanding.

Shuaiqi Tang, Hailong Wang, Xiang-Yu Li, Jingyi Chen, Armin Sorooshian, Xubin Zeng, Ewan Crosbie, Kenneth L. Thornhill, Luke D. Ziemba, and Christiane Voigt

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3149', Anonymous Referee #1, 27 Jan 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3149', Anonymous Referee #2, 05 Feb 2024
Shuaiqi Tang, Hailong Wang, Xiang-Yu Li, Jingyi Chen, Armin Sorooshian, Xubin Zeng, Ewan Crosbie, Kenneth L. Thornhill, Luke D. Ziemba, and Christiane Voigt
Shuaiqi Tang, Hailong Wang, Xiang-Yu Li, Jingyi Chen, Armin Sorooshian, Xubin Zeng, Ewan Crosbie, Kenneth L. Thornhill, Luke D. Ziemba, and Christiane Voigt

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Short summary
We examined marine boundary-layer clouds and their interactions with aerosols in the E3SM single-column model (SCM) for a case study. The SCM shows good agreement in simulating the clouds with high-resolution models. It reproduces the relationship between cloud droplet and aerosol particle number concentrations as produced in global models. However, the relationship between cloud liquid water and droplet number concentration are different, which warrants further investigation.