FINAL REPORT FOR THE DOE/ARM PROJECT TITLED Representation of the Microphysical and Radiative Properties of Ice Clouds in SCMs and GCMs

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The broad goal of this research is to improve climate prediction through better representation of cirrus cloud microphysical and radiative properties in global climate models (GCMs). Clouds still represent the greatest source of uncertainty in climate prediction, and the representation of ice clouds is considerably more challenging than liquid water clouds. While about 40% of cloud condensate may be in the form of ice by some estimates, there have been no credible means of representing the ice particle size distribution and mass removal rates from ice clouds in GCMs. Both factors introduce large uncertainties regarding the global net flux, the ... continued below

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Mitchell, David L. August 8, 2005.

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Description

The broad goal of this research is to improve climate prediction through better representation of cirrus cloud microphysical and radiative properties in global climate models (GCMs). Clouds still represent the greatest source of uncertainty in climate prediction, and the representation of ice clouds is considerably more challenging than liquid water clouds. While about 40% of cloud condensate may be in the form of ice by some estimates, there have been no credible means of representing the ice particle size distribution and mass removal rates from ice clouds in GCMs. Both factors introduce large uncertainties regarding the global net flux, the latter factor alone producing a change of 10 W/m2 in the global net flux due to plausible changes in effective ice particle fallspeed. In addition, the radiative properties of ice crystals themselves are in question. This research provides GCMs with a credible means of representing the full (bimodal) ice particle size distribution (PSD) in ice clouds, including estimates of the small crystal (D < 65 microns) mode of the PSD. It also provides realistic estimates of mass sedimentation rates from ice clouds, which have a strong impact on their ice contents and radiative properties. This can be done through proper analysis of ice cloud microphysical data from ARM and other field campaigns. In addition, this research tests the ice cloud radiation treatment developed under two previous ARM projects by comparing it against laboratory measurements of ice cloud extinction efficiency and by comparing it with explicit theoretical calculations of ice crystal optical properties. The outcome of this project includes two PSD schemes for ice clouds; one appropriate for mid-latitude cirrus clouds and another for tropical anvil cirrus. Cloud temperature and ice water content (IWC) are the inputs for these PSD schemes, which are based on numerous PSD observations. The temperature dependence of the small crystal mode of the PSD for tropical anvils is opposite to that of mid-latitude cirrus, and this results in very different radiative properties for these two types of cirrus at temperatures less than about 50 C for a given ice water path. In addition, the representative PSD fall velocity is strongly influenced by the small crystal mode, and for temperatures less than 52 C, this fall velocity for mid-latitude cirrus is 2-8 times greater than for tropical anvil cirrus. Finally, the treatment of ice cloud optical properties was found to agree with laboratory measurements and exact theory within 15% for any given wavelength, PSD and ice particle shape. This treatment is analytical, formulated in terms of the PSD and ice particle shape properties. It thus provides the means for explicitly coupling the ice cloud microphysical and radiative properties, and can treat any combination of ice particle shape. It is very inexpensive regarding computer time. When these three deliverables were incorporated into the GCM at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) under another project, it was found that the sunlight reflected and the amount of upwelling heat absorbed by cirrus clouds depended strongly on the PSD scheme used (i.e. mid-latitude or tropical anvil). This was largely due to the fall velocities associated with the two PSD schemes, although the PSD shape was also important.

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  • Report No.: DOE/ER/62935-1
  • Grant Number: FG03-00ER62935
  • DOI: 10.2172/842226 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 842226
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc783517

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  • August 8, 2005

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • Aug. 3, 2016, 3:28 p.m.

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Mitchell, David L. FINAL REPORT FOR THE DOE/ARM PROJECT TITLED Representation of the Microphysical and Radiative Properties of Ice Clouds in SCMs and GCMs, report, August 8, 2005; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc783517/: accessed October 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.