Implementation of a two-moment bulk microphysics scheme to the WRF model to investigate aerosol-cloud interaction Academic Article uri icon


  • A two-moment bulk microphysical scheme has been implemented into the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to investigate the aerosol-cloud interaction. The microphysical scheme calculates the mass mixing ratios and number concentrations of aerosols and five types of hydrometeors and accounts for various cloud processes including warm and mixed phase microphysics. The representation of the aerosol size distribution is evaluated, showing that the three-moment modal method produces results better in agreement with the sectional approach than the two-moment modal method for variable supersaturation conditions in clouds. The effects of aerosols on cloud processes are investigated using the two-moment bulk microphysical scheme in a convective cumulus cloud event occurring on 24 August 2000 in Houston, Texas. The modeled evolution of the distribution of radar reflectivity in the y-z section, the cell lifetime, and averaged accumulated precipitation with the aerosol concentration under the polluted urban condition are qualitatively consistent with the measurements. Sensitivity simulations are initialized using a set of aerosol profiles with the number concentrations ranging from 200 to 50,000 cm -3 and mass ranging from 1 to 10 g m-3 at the surface level. The response of precipitation to the increase of aerosol concentrations is nonmonotonic, because of the complicated interaction between cloud microphysics and dynamics. The precipitation increases with aerosol concentrations from clean maritime to continental background conditions, but is considerably reduced and completely suppressed under highly polluted conditions, indicating that the aerosol concentration exhibits distinct effects on the precipitation efficiency under different aerosol conditions. The maximal cloud cover, core updraft, and maximal vertical velocity exhibit similar responses as precipitation. Comparison is made to evaluate the effects of different autoconversion parameterizations and bulk microphysical schemes on cloud properties. Because of its broad application in numerical weather prediction, implementation of the two-moment microphysical scheme to the WRF model will greatly facilitate assessment of aerosol-cloud interaction from individual cumulus to mesoscale convective systems. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Li, G., Wang, Y., & Zhang, R.

citation count

  • 157

complete list of authors

  • Li, Guohui||Wang, Yuan||Zhang, Renyi

publication date

  • January 2008