A comparison of stratosphere-troposphere transport in convection-permitting and convection-parameterizing simulations of three mesoscale convective systems
Chagnon, J. M. and Gray, S. L. (2010) A comparison of stratosphere-troposphere transport in convection-permitting and convection-parameterizing simulations of three mesoscale convective systems. Journal of Geophysical Research, 115 (D24). D24318. ISSN 0148-0227
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1029/2010JD014421
The transport of stratospheric air into the troposphere within deep convection was investigated using the Met Office Unified Model version 6.1. Three cases were simulated in which convective systems formed over the UK in the summer of 2005. For each of these three cases, simulations were performed on a grid having 4 km horizontal grid spacing in which the convection was parameterized and on a grid having 1 km horizontal grid spacing, which permitted explicit representation of the largest energy-containing scales of deep convection. Cross-tropopause transport was diagnosed using passive tracers that were initialized above the dynamically defined tropopause (2 potential vorticity unit surface) with a mixing ratio of 1. Although the synoptic-scale environment and triggering mechanisms varied between the cases, the total simulated transport was similar in all three cases. The total stratosphere-to-troposphere transport over the lifetime of the convective systems ranged from 25 to 100 kg/m2 across the simulated convective systems and resolutions, which corresponds to ∼5–20% of the total mass located within a stratospheric column extending 2 km above the tropopause. In all simulations, the transport into the lower troposphere (defined as below 3.5 km elevation) accounted for ∼1% of the total transport across the tropopause. In the 4 km runs most of the transport was due to parameterized convection, whereas in the 1 km runs the transport was due to explicitly resolved convection. The largest difference between the simulations with different resolutions occurred in the one case of midlevel convection considered, in which the total transport in the 1 km grid spacing simulation with explicit convection was 4 times that in the 4 km grid spacing simulation with parameterized convection. Although the total cross-tropopause transport was similar, stratospheric tracer was deposited more deeply to near-surface elevations in the convection-parameterizing simulations than in convection-permitting simulations.