The PreVOCA experiment: Modeling the lower troposphere in the Southeast Pacific
The Preliminary VOCALS Model Assessment (PreVOCA) aims to assess contemporary atmospheric modeling of the subtropical South East Pacific, with a particular focus on the clouds and the marine boundary layer (MBL). Models results from fourteen modeling centers were collected including operational forecast models, regional models, and global climate models for the month of October 2006. Forecast models and global climate models produced daily forecasts, while most regional models were run continuously during the study period, initialized and forced at the boundaries with global model analyses. Results are compared in the region from 40 degrees S to the equator and from 110 degrees W to 70 degrees W, corresponding to the Pacific coast of South America. Mean-monthly model surface winds agree well with QuikSCAT observed winds and models agree fairly well on mean weak large-scale subsidence in the region next to the coast. However they have greatly differing geographic patterns of mean cloud fraction with only a few models agreeing well with MODIS observations. Most models also underestimate the MBL depth by several hundred meters in the eastern part of the study region. The diurnal cycle of liquid water path is underestimated by most models at the 85 degrees W 20 degrees S stratus buoy site compared with satellite, consistent with previous modeling studies. The low cloud fraction is also underestimated during all parts of the diurnal cycle compared to surface-based climatologies. Most models qualitatively capture the MBL deepening around 15 October 2006 at the stratus buoy, associated with colder air at 700 hPa.