Cloud-Resolving Model Intercomparison of an MC3E Squall Line Case: Part II. Stratiform Precipitation Properties

Bin Han, Jiwen Fan, Adam Varble, Hugh Morrison, Christopher R. Williams, Baojun Chen, Xiquan Dong, Scott E. Giangrande, Alexander Khain, Edward Mansell, Jason A. Milbrandt, Jacob Shpund, Gregory Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


In this second part of a cloud microphysics scheme intercomparison study, we focus on biases and variabilities of stratiform precipitation properties for a midlatitude squall line event simulated with a cloud-resolving model implemented with eight cloud microphysics schemes. Most of the microphysics schemes underestimate total stratiform precipitation, mainly due to underestimation of stratiform precipitation area. All schemes underestimate the frequency of moderate stratiform rain rates (2–6 mm/hr), which may result from low-biased ice number and mass concentrations for 0.2–2-mm diameter particles in the stratiform ice region. Most simulations overestimate ice water content (IWC) at altitudes above 7 km for temperatures colder than −20 °C but produce a decrease of IWC approaching the melting level, which is opposite to the trend shown by in situ observations. This leads to general underestimations of stratiform IWC below 5-km altitude and rainwater content above 1-km altitude for a given rain rate. Stratiform precipitation area positively correlates with the convective condensate detrainment flux but is modulated by hydrometeor type, size, and fall speed. Stratiform precipitation area also changes by up to 17%–25% through alterations of the lateral boundary condition forcing frequency. Stratiform precipitation, rain rate, and area across the simulations vary by a factor of 1.5. This large variability is primarily a result of variability in the stratiform downward ice mass flux, which is highly correlated with convective condensate horizontal detrainment strength. The variability of simulated local microphysical processes in the stratiform region plays a secondary role in explaining variability in simulated stratiform rainfall properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1090-1117
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 27 2019


  • microphysics parameterization
  • model intercomparison
  • squall line
  • stratiform precipitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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