Lane, D. E., R. C. J. Somerville, and S. F. Iacobellis, 2000: Sensitivity of cloud and radiation parameterizations to changes in vertical resolutionJ. Climate, in press


We examine the importance of vertical resolution to the parameterization of cloud-radiation processes in climate models. Using a one-dimensional single-column model containing a typical suite of physical parameterizations, we test twelve different vertical resoultions, ranging from 16 to 60 layers. The model products are evaluated against observational data taken during three Intensive Observation Periods from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program. The simulated values of cloud-radiation variables display a marked sensitivity to changes in vertical resolution. This sensitivity is apparent in all the model variables examined. The cloud fraction varies typically by approximately 10% over the range of resolutions tested, a substantial amount when compared to the typical observed values of about 50%. The outgoing longwave radiation typically changes by approximately 10 to 20 W m-2 as resolution is varied, which is of the order of 5-10% of the observed value. The downwelling shortwave radiation change is somewhat smaller but is still significant. Furthermore, the model results have not converged even at a resolution of 60 layers, and there are systematic differences between model results and observations.