Transport of radon-222 and methyl iodide by deep convection in the GFDL Global Atmospheric Model AM2

Donner, Leo J.; Horowitz, Larry W.; Fiore, Arlene M.; Seman, Charles J.; Blake, Donald R.; Blake, Nicola J.

Transport of radon-222 and methyl iodide by deep convection is analyzed in the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) Atmospheric Model 2 (AM2) using two parameterizations for deep convection. One of these parameterizations represents deep convection as an ensemble of entraining plumes; the other represents deep convection as an ensemble of entraining plumes with associated mesoscale updrafts and downdrafts. Although precipitation patterns are generally similar in AM2 with both parameterizations, the deep convective mass fluxes are more than three times larger in the middle- to upper troposphere for the parameterization consisting only of entraining plumes, but do not extend across the tropopause, unlike the parameterization including mesoscale circulations. The differences in mass fluxes result mainly from a different partitioning between convective and stratiform precipitation; the parameterization including mesoscale circulations detrains considerably more water vapor in the middle troposphere and is associated with more stratiform rain. The distributions of both radon-222 and methyl iodide reflect the different mass fluxes. Relative to observations (limited by infrequent spatial and temporal sampling), AM2 tends to simulate lower concentrations of radon-222 and methyl iodide in the planetary boundary layer, producing a negative model bias through much of the troposphere, with both cumulus parameterizations. The shapes of the observed profiles suggest that the larger deep convective mass fluxes and associated transport in the parameterization lacking a mesoscale component are less realistic.


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Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Ocean and Climate Physics
American Geophysical Union
Published Here
November 20, 2015