Iacobellis, S. F., and R. C. J. Somerville, 2000: "Implications of mircophysics for cloud-radiation parameterizations: Lessons from TOGA-COARE", J. Atmos. Sci., 57, 161-183.


A single-column model (SCM) and observational data collected during TOGA-COARE were used to investigate the sensitivity of model-produced cloud properties and radiative fluxes to the representation of cloud microphysics in the cloud-radiation parameterizations. Four 78-day SCM numerical experiments were conducted for the atmospheric column overlying the COARE Intensive Flux Array (IFA). Each SCM experiment used a different cloud-radiation parameterization with a different representation of cloud microphysics.

All the SCM experiments successfully reproduced most of the observed temporal variability in precipitation, cloud fraction, shortwave and longwave cloud forcing, and downwelling surface shortwave flux. The magnitude and temporal variability of the downward surface longwave flux was overestimated by all the SCM experiments. This bias is probably due to clouds forming too low in the model atmosphere. Time-averaged model results were used to examine the sensitivity of model performance to the differences between the four cloud-radiation parameterization packages. The SCM versions which calculated cloud amount as a function of cloud liquid water, instead of using a relative humidity-based cloud scheme, produced smaller amounts of both low and deep convective clouds. Additionally, larger high (cirrus) cloud emissivities were obtained with interactive cloud liquid water schemes than with the relative humidity-based scheme. Surprisingly, calculating cloud optical properties as a function of cloud liquid water amount, instead of parameterizing them based on temperature, humidity and pressure, resulted in relatively little change in radiative fluxes. However, model radiative fluxes were sensitive to the specification of the effective cloud droplet radius. Optically thicker low clouds and optically thinner high clouds were produced when an interactive effective cloud droplet radius scheme was used instead of specifying a constant value. Comparison of model results to both surface and satellite observations revealed that model experiments which calculated cloud properties as a function of cloud liquid water produced more realistic cloud amounts and radiative fluxes. The most realistic vertical distribution of clouds was obtained from the SCM experiment which included the most complete representation of cloud microphysics. Due to the limitations of SCMs, the above conclusions are model dependent and need to be tested in a general circulation model.