A coupled cloud physics–radiation parameterization of the bulk optical properties of cirrus and its impact on the Met Office unified model global atmosphere 5.0 configuration

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Baran, Anthony J. ; Hill, Peter ; Furtado, Kalli ; Field, Paul ; Manners, James (2014)
  • Publisher: American Meteorological Society
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00700.1
  • Subject:
    arxiv: Physics::Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics

A new coupled cloud physics–radiation parameterization of the bulk optical properties of ice clouds is presented. The parameterization is consistent with assumptions in the cloud physics scheme regarding particle size distributions (PSDs) and mass–dimensional relationships. The parameterization is based on a weighted ice crystal habit mixture model, and its bulk optical properties are parameterized as simple functions of wavelength and ice water content (IWC). This approach directly couples IWC to the bulk optical properties, negating the need for diagnosed variables, such as the ice crystal effective dimension. The parameterization is implemented into the Met Office Unified Model Global Atmosphere 5.0 (GA5) configuration. The GA5 configuration is used to simulate the annual 20-yr shortwave (SW) and longwave (LW) fluxes at the top of the atmosphere (TOA), as well as the temperature structure of the atmosphere, under various microphysical assumptions. The coupled parameterization is directly compared against the current operational radiation parameterization, while maintaining the same cloud physics assumptions. In this experiment, the impacts of the two parameterizations on the SW and LW radiative effects at TOA are also investigated and compared against observations. The 20-yr simulations are compared against the latest observations of the atmospheric temperature and radiative fluxes at TOA. The comparisons demonstrate that the choice of PSD and the assumed ice crystal shape distribution are as important as each other. Moreover, the consistent radiation parameterization removes a long-standing tropical troposphere cold temperature bias but slightly warms the southern midlatitudes by about 0.5 K.
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