Environmental Policy

Assessing Regional Scale Predictions of Aerosols, Marine Stratocumulus, and Their Interactions During VOCALS-REx Using WRF-Chem

Yang, Q.; Jr., G.W.I.; Fast, J.D.; Wang, H.; Easter, R.C.; Morrison, H.


In the recent chemistry version (v3.3) of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF-Chem) model, we have coupled the Morrison double-moment microphysics scheme with interactive aerosols so that two-way aerosol-cloud interactions are included in the simulations. We have used this new WRF-Chem functionality in a study focused on assessing predictions of aerosols, marine stratocumulus clouds, and their interactions over the Southeast Pacific using measurements from the VAMOS Ocean-Cloud-Atmosphere-Land Study Regional Experiment (VOCALS-REx) and satellite retrievals.

This study also serves as a detailed analysis of our WRF-Chem simulations contributed to the VOCALS model Assessment (VOCA) project. The WRF-Chem 31-day (15 October–16 November 2008) simulation with aerosol-cloud interactions (AERO hereafter) is also compared to a simulation (MET hereafter) with fixed cloud droplet number concentrations assumed by the default in Morrison microphysics scheme with no interactive aerosols. The well-predicted aerosol properties such as number, mass composition, and optical depth lead to significant improvements in many features of the simulated stratocumulus clouds: cloud optical properties and microphysical properties such as cloud top effective radius, cloud water path, and cloud optical thickness, and cloud macrostructure such as cloud depth and cloud base height.