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  1. 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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  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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