Subtropical Marine Low Stratiform Cloud Deck Spatial Errors in the E3SMv1 Atmosphere Model

Michael A. Brunke, Po Lun Ma, J. E.Jack Reeves Eyre, Philip J. Rasch, Armin Sorooshian, Xubin Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Marine low-level clouds continue to be poorly simulated in models despite many studies and field experiments devoted to their improvement. Here we focus on the spatial errors in the cloud decks in the Department of Energy Earth system model (the Energy Exascale Earth System Model [E3SM]) relative to the satellite climatology by calculating centroid distances, area ratios, and overlap ratios. Since model dynamics is better simulated than clouds, these errors are attributed primarily to the model physics. To gain additional insight, we performed a sensitivity run in which model winds were nudged to those of reanalysis. This results in a large change (but not necessarily an improvement) in the simulated cloud decks. These differences between simulations are mainly due to the interactions between model dynamics and physics. These results suggest that both model physics (widely recognized) and its interaction with dynamics (less recognized) are important to model improvement in simulating these low-level clouds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12598-12607
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 16 2019


  • E3SMv1
  • dynamics-physics interactions
  • physical parameterizations
  • spatial errors
  • stratiform cloud decks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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