Evaluating the performance of single and double moment microphysics schemes during a synoptic-scale snowfall event
The Canadian CloudSat/CALIPSO Validation Project (C3VP) represented collaboration among the CloudSat, CALIPSO, and NASA Global Precipitation Measurement mission communities, to observe cold season precipitation processes relevant to forecast model evaluation and the eventual development of satellite retrievals of cloud properties and precipitation rates. During the C3VP campaign, widespread snowfall occurred on 22 January 2007, sampled by aircraft and surface instrumentation that provided particle size distributions, ice water content, and fall speed estimations along with traditional surface measurements of temperature and precipitation. In this study, four single-moment and two double-moment microphysics schemes were utilized to generate hypothetical WRF forecasts of the event, with C3VP data used in evaluation of their varying assumptions. Schemes that incorporate flexibility in size distribution parameters and density assumptions are shown to be preferable to fixed constants, and that a double-moment representation of the snow category may be beneficial when representing the effects of aggregation. These results may guide forecast centers in optimal configurations of their forecast models for winter weather and identify best practices present within these various schemes.