|Title||Regional Climate Modeling over the Maritime Continent. Part I: New Parameterization for Convective Cloud Fraction|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2014|
|Authors||Gianotti RL, Eltahir EAB|
|Journal||Journal of Climate|
|Keywords||climate models, Cloud parameterizations, Convective clouds, Feedback, Radiation budgets|
This paper describes a new method for parameterizing convective cloud fraction that can be used within large-scale climate models, and evaluates the new method using the Regional Climate Model, version 3 (RegCM3), coupled to the land surface scheme Integrated Biosphere Simulator (IBIS). The horizontal extent of convective cloud cover is calculated by utilizing a relationship between the simulated amount of convective cloud water and typical observations of convective cloud water density. This formulation not only provides a physically meaningful basis for the simulation of convective cloud cover, but it is also spatially and temporally variable and independent of model resolution, rendering it generally applicable for large-scale climate models. Simulations over the Maritime Continent show that the new method allows for simulation of an essential convective–radiative feedback, which was absent in the existing version of RegCM3–IBIS, such that moist convection not only responds to diurnal variability at the earth’s surface but also impacts the solar radiation received at the surface via cumulus cloud production. The impact on model performance was mixed, but it is considered that appropriate representation of the convective–radiative feedback and improved physical realism resulting from the new cloud fraction parameterization will likely have positive benefits elsewhere. The role of convective rainfall production in the convective–radiative feedback and a new parameterization for convective autoconversion are addressed in Part II of this paper series.