Multiscale modeling of the moist-convective atmosphere - A review

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Multiscale modeling of the moist-convective atmosphere is reviewed with an emphasis on the recently proposed approaches of unified parameterization and Quasi-3D (Q3D) Multiscale Modeling Framework (MMF). The cumulus parameterization problem, which was introduced to represent the multiscale effects of moist convection, has been one of the central issues in atmospheric modeling. After a review of the history of cumulus parameterization, it is pointed out that currently there are two families of atmospheric models with quite different formulations of model physics, one represented by the general circulation models (GCMs) and the other by the cloud-resolving models (CRMs). Ideally, these two families of models should be unified so that a continuous transition of model physics from one kind to the other takes place as the resolution changes. This paper discusses two possible routes to achieve the unification. ROUTE I unifies the cumulus parameterization in conventional GCMs and the cloud microphysics parameterization in CRMs. A key to construct such a unified parameterization is to reformulate the vertical eddy transport due to subgrid-scale moist convection in such a way that it vanishes when the resolution is sufficiently high. A preliminary design of the unified parameterization is presented with supporting evidence for its validity. ROUTE II for the unification follows the MMF approach based on a coupled GCM/CRM, originally known as the "super-parameterization". The Q3D MMF is an attempt to broaden the applicability of the super-parameterization without necessarily using a fully three-dimensional CRM. This is accomplished using a network of cloud-resolving grids with gaps. The basic Q3D algorithm and highlights of preliminary results are reviewed. It is suggested that the hierarchy of future global models should form a "Multiscale Modeling Network (MMN)", which combines these two routes. With this network, the horizontal resolution of the dynamics core and that of the physical processes can be individually and freely chosen without changing the formulation of model physics. Development of such a network will represent a new phase of the history of numerical modeling of the atmosphere that can be characterized by the keyword "unification". © 2011 Elsevier B.V.




Arakawa, A., & Jung, J. H. (2011, November). Multiscale modeling of the moist-convective atmosphere - A review. Atmospheric Research.

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