12th Conference on Cloud Physics


A three-dimensional cloud modeling study on the dynamical and microphysical variability of thunderstorms in different climate regimes

Robert E. Schlesinger, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; and S. A. Hubbard and P. K. Wang

Thunderstorms occur all across the globe within many dissimilar climatic regimes. Much research remains to be done in the meteorological community regarding case-to-case dynamical and microphysical variability of thunderstorms originating within a given climate region, and the same is true for comparing the characteristics of thunderstorms originating in different climatic regimes.

In the above context, our paper analyzes nearly 60 thunderstorms across several climatic regimes around the world, using results from the Wisconsin Dynamical/Microphysical Model (WISCDYMM), a quasi-compressible, nonhydrostatic three-dimensional cloud model equipped with bulk microphysics for cloud water, rain and three classes of ice (cloud ice, snow, graupel/hail). The cases are compared and contrasted via two types of partitioning among numerous microphysical parameters, integrated over the model domain and time-averaged over significant portion of the storms' life cycle. One partitioning entails 10 hydrometeor mass indices, and the other a total of 25 precipitation sources or sinks, which are also ranked by relative importance for each precipitation class (rain, snow, graupel/hail).

The model results show many microphysical and dynamical similarities and differences among storms within each climate regime. According to our analysis, the similarities stemmed from the association of a given climate regime with a typical air mass type, while the differences may be due to such factors as time of year (seasonality) and diurnal cycles. Thunderstorms originating in dissimilar air masses exhibit similar structural or morphological properties, but can have highly contrasting microphysical properties.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (444K)

wrf recording  Recorded presentation

Session 8, Deep Convective Clouds II
Wednesday, 12 July 2006, 10:30 AM-12:00 PM, Hall of Ideas G-J

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