AbstractMesoscale convective systems (MCSs) contribute a large fraction of warm-season precipitation and generate hazardous weather with substantial socio-economic impacts. Uncertainties in convection parameterizations in climate models limit our understanding of MCS characteristics and reliability of future projection. We examine the MCS simulation from the global 14-km Nonhydrostatic ICosahedral Atmospheric Model (NICAM) without cumulus parameterization against satellite observation from Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) during 2001-2008. We focus on MCSs over the central U.S. and eastern China where MCSs prevail from March to August. A process-oriented tracking method incorporating both cloud and precipitation criteria is used to identify and track MCSs. About 140/100 MCSs initiate in the central U.S./eastern China per warm season and most of them initiate east of high mountains and in coastal regions. The frequency distribution of MCS lifetime is well captured in NICAM. But the simulated MCSs have stronger precipitation, smaller precipitation area, and larger cold cloud system than observed in both regions, which may be caused by weak entrainment as it is not well resolved at 14 km resolution. The simulated MCS number is also underestimated in summer. By examining the climatological and MCS large-scale environments, the significant underestimation of MCS number in summer over the central U.S. may be attributed to the large climatological dry bias in the atmosphere. For China, mean moisture in summer is well simulated but deficiency in capturing the dynamic condition related to the coastal topography for triggering convection may have contributed to underestimation of MCS even in a sufficiently moist environment.
Published: November 10, 2022