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  1. The influence of the Unified Noah and Noah-MP land surface models (LSMs) on the evolution of cumulus clouds reaching convective initiation (CI) is assessed using infrared brightness temperatures (BT) from GOES-16. Cloud properties from individual cloud objects are examined using output from high-resolution (500 m horizontal grid spacing) model simulations. Cloud objects are tracked over time and related to observed clouds reaching CI to examine differences in cloud extent, longevity, and growth rate. The results demonstrate that differences in assumed surface properties can lead to large discrepancies in the net surface radiative budget, particularly in the sensible and latent heating components where differences exceed 40 W m−2. These differences lead to changes in the local mesoscale circulation patterns that are more pronounced near the edges of forested and grassland boundaries where lower-level convergence is stronger. Higher sensible heating from the Noah-MP LSM produced growth of CI clouds earlier and with increased longevity, which was closer to the timing and growth observed from GOES-16. The increased cloud growth in the Noah-MP experiment results from stronger and deeper updrafts, which lofts more cloud water into the upper levels of the troposphere. The weaker updrafts from the Noah LSM experiment results in shallower convection after CI is detected due to slower growth rates. The differences in cloud properties and growth are directly related to the land surfaces they develop above and point to the importance of accurately representing land properties and radiative characteristics when simulating convection in numerical weather prediction models. 
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  2. In this study, a polarimetric radar forward model operator was developed for the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model that was based on a scattering algorithm using the T-matrix methodology. Three microphysics schemes—Thompson, Morrison 2-moment, and Milbrandt-Yau 2-moment—were supported in the operator. This radar forward operator used the microphysics, thermodynamic, and wind fields from WRF model forecasts to compute horizontal reflectivity, radial velocity, and polarimetric variables including differential reflectivity (ZDR) and specific differential phase (KDP) for S-band radar. A case study with severe convective storms was used to examine the accuracy of the radar operator. Output from the radar operator was compared to real radar observations from the Weather Surveillance Radar–1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) radar. The results showed that the radar forward operator generated realistic polarimetric signatures. The distribution of polarimetric variables agreed well with the hydrometer properties produced by different microphysics schemes. Similar to the observed polarimetric signatures, radar operator output showed ZDR and KDP columns from low-to-mid troposphere, reflecting the large amount of rain within strong updrafts. The Thompson scheme produced a better simulation for the hail storm with a ZDR hole to indicate the existence of graupel in the low troposphere. 
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  3. In this study, a polarimetric radar forward model operator was developed for the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model that was based on a scattering algorithm using the T-matrix methodology. Three microphysics schemes—Thompson, Morrison 2-moment, and Milbrandt-Yau 2-moment—were supported in the operator. This radar forward operator used the microphysics, thermodynamic, and wind fields from WRF model forecasts to compute horizontal reflectivity, radial velocity, and polarimetric variables including differential reflectivity (ZDR) and specific differential phase (KDP) for S-band radar. A case study with severe convective storms was used to examine the accuracy of the radar operator. Output from the radar operator was compared to real radar observations from the Weather Surveillance Radar–1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) radar. The results showed that the radar forward operator generated realistic polarimetric signatures. The distribution of polarimetric variables agreed well with the hydrometer properties produced by different microphysics schemes. Similar to the observed polarimetric signatures, radar operator output showed ZDR and KDP columns from low-to-mid troposphere, reflecting the large amount of rain within strong updrafts. The Thompson scheme produced a better simulation for the hail storm with a ZDR hole to indicate the existence of graupel in the low troposphere. 
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  4. Abstract

    The influence of the Unified Noah and Noah‐MP land surface models (LSMs) on the evolution of cumulus clouds reaching convective initiation (CI) is assessed using infrared brightness temperatures (BT) from GOES‐16. Cloud properties from individual cloud objects are examined using output from high‐resolution (500 m horizontal grid spacing) model simulations. Cloud objects are tracked over time and related to observed clouds reaching CI to examine differences in cloud extent, longevity, and growth rate. The results demonstrate that differences in assumed surface properties can lead to large discrepancies in the net surface radiative budget, particularly in the sensible and latent heating components where differences exceed 40 W m−2. These differences lead to changes in the local mesoscale circulation patterns that are more pronounced near the edges of forested and grassland boundaries where lower‐level convergence is stronger. Higher sensible heating from the Noah‐MP LSM produced growth of CI clouds earlier and with increased longevity, which was closer to the timing and growth observed from GOES‐16. The increased cloud growth in the Noah‐MP experiment results from stronger and deeper updrafts, which lofts more cloud water into the upper levels of the troposphere. The weaker updrafts from the Noah LSM experiment results in shallower convection after CI is detected due to slower growth rates. The differences in cloud properties and growth are directly related to the land surfaces they develop above and point to the importance of accurately representing land properties and radiative characteristics when simulating convection in numerical weather prediction models.

     
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  5. Abstract

    The evolution of model-based cloud-top brightness temperatures (BT) associated with convective initiation (CI) is assessed for three bulk cloud microphysics schemes in the Weather Research and Forecasting Model. Using a composite-based analysis, cloud objects derived from high-resolution (500 m) model simulations are compared to 5-minGOES-16imagery for a case study day located near the Alabama–Mississippi border. Observed and simulated cloud characteristics for clouds reaching CI are examined by utilizing infrared BTs commonly used in satellite-based CI nowcasting methods. The results demonstrate the ability of object-based verification methods with satellite observations to evaluate the evolution of model cloud characteristics, and the BT comparison provides insight into a known issue of model simulations producing too many convective cells reaching CI. The timing of CI from the different microphysical schemes is dependent on the production of ice in the upper levels of the cloud, which typically occurs near the time of maximum cloud growth. In particular, large differences in precipitation formation drive differences in the amount of cloud water able to reach upper layers of the cloud, which impacts cloud-top glaciation. Larger cloud mixing ratios are found in clouds with sustained growth leading to more cloud water lofted to the upper levels of the cloud and the formation of ice. Clouds unable to sustain growth lack the necessary cloud water needed to form ice and grow into cumulonimbus. Clouds with slower growth rates display similar BT trends as clouds exhibiting growth, which suggests that forecasting CI using geostationary satellites might require additional information beyond those derived at cloud top.

     
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