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Prognostic parameterization of cloud ice with a single category in the aerosol-climate model ECHAM(v6.3.0)-HAM(v2.3)

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Dietlicher Remo, Neubauer David, Lohmann Ulrike,
Project A new parameterization scheme for ice and snow in climate models
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Geoscientific Model Development
Volume (Issue) 11(4)
Page(s) 1557 - 1576
Title of proceedings Geoscientific Model Development
DOI 10.5194/gmd-11-1557-2018

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


A new scheme for stratiform cloud microphysics has been implemented in the ECHAM6-HAM2 general circulation model. It features a widely used description of cloud water with two categories for cloud droplets and raindrops. The unique aspect of the new scheme is the break with the traditional approach to describe cloud ice analogously. Here we parameterize cloud ice by a single category that predicts bulk particle properties (P3). This method has already been applied in a regional model and most recently also in the Community Atmosphere Model 5 (CAM5). A single cloud ice category does not rely on heuristic conversion rates from one category to another. Therefore, it is conceptually easier and closer to first principles. This work shows that a single category is a viable approach to describe cloud ice in climate models. Prognostic representation of sedimentation is achieved by a nested approach for sub-stepping the cloud microphysics scheme. This yields good results in terms of accuracy and performance as compared to simulations with high temporal resolution. Furthermore, the new scheme allows for a competition between various cloud processes and is thus able to unbiasedly represent the ice formation pathway from nucleation to growth by vapor deposition and collisions to sedimentation. Specific aspects of the P3 method are evaluated. We could not produce a purely stratiform cloud where rime growth dominates growth by vapor deposition and conclude that the lack of appropriate conditions renders the prognostic parameters associated with the rime properties unnecessary. Limitations inherent in a single category are examined.