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Title: Using high-resolution modelling to improve the parameterisation of convection in a climate model
Author: Denby, Leif Christopher
ISNI:       0000 0004 7225 1589
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2017
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In this work high-resolution numerical simulation (Large-Eddie Simulation, LES) has been used to study the characteristic factors causing and influencing the development of moist convective clouds. Through this work a 1D cloud-model was derived from first principles to represent the vertical profile of individual convective clouds. A microphysics framework was implemented to ensure identical behaviour in LES and cloud-model integration where the microphysical processes represented are numerically integrated using a novel adaptive step microphysics integration which uses the physical speed at which a process takes place to adjust the integration step size (in space and time). This work also introduces a simple representation of cloud-droplet formation which allows for super-saturation to exist in-cloud and through this provide more physical representation of the in-cloud state. Together with high-resolution simulation of isolated individual and interacting multiple clouds in environmental conditions leading to shallow convection, the 1D cloud-model was used to infer that the principal influence on moist convective clouds is the entrainment of air from a cloud’s immediate environment which is significantly different from the environmental mean state. This suggests that convection parameterisations must represent the influence of moist convective downdrafts to properly predict the vertical structure of convective clouds so as to correctly predict the cloud-top height and vertical transport. Finally it was found that cloud-base radius is not in itself adequate as a means of classification for defining cloud-types as clouds with the same cloud-base radius showed large variation (≈ 600m) in cloud-top height. Based on simulations of individual convective clouds it was found that 3D simulations are necessary to capture the full dynamic behaviour of convective clouds (2D axisymmetric simulations have too little entrainment) and that agreement with the 1D cloud-model could only be found when entrainment was diagnosed from simulation instead of being parameterised by the traditional Morton-Turner model and only for 2D axisymmetric simulations, suggesting that the 1D cloud-model will require further extension or the diagnosis of entrainment improved.
Supervisor: Herzog, Michael Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: convective clouds ; large-eddy simulation ; cloud entrainment