Does the threshold representation associated with the autoconversion process matter?

  • Guo H
  • Liu Y
  • Penner J
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Different ad hoc threshold functions associated with the autoconversion
process have been arbitrarily used in atmospheric models. However,
it is unclear how these ad hoc functions impact model results. Here
systematic investigations of the sensitivities of climatically-important
properties: CF (cloud fraction), LWP (liquid water path), and AIE
(aerosol indirect effect) to threshold functions have been performed
using a 3-D cloud-resolving model. It is found that the effect of
threshold representations is larger on instantaneous values than
on daily averages; and the effect depends on the percentage of clouds
in their transitional stages of converting cloud water to rain water.
For both the instantaneous values and daily averages, the sensitivity
to the specification of critical radius is more significant than
the sensitivity to the 'smoothness' of the threshold representation
(as embodied in the relative dispersion of droplet size distribution)
for drizzling clouds. Moreover, the impact of threshold representations
on the AIE is stronger than that on CF and LWP.

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  • H. Guo

  • Y. Liu

  • J. E. Penner

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