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Keywords:

  • radar simulator;
  • multiscale modeling framework;
  • superparameterization

[1] Over the last few years a new type of global climate model (GCM) has emerged in which a cloud-resolving model is embedded into each grid cell of a GCM. This new approach is frequently called a multiscale modeling framework (MMF) or superparameterization. In this article we present a comparison of MMF output with radar observations from the NASA CloudSat mission, which uses a near-nadir-pointing millimeter-wavelength radar to probe the vertical structure of clouds and precipitation. We account for radar detection limits by simulating the 94 GHz radar reflectivity that CloudSat would observe from the high-resolution cloud-resolving model output produced by the MMF. Overall, the MMF does a good job of reproducing the broad pattern of tropical convergence zones, subtropical belts, and midlatitude storm tracks, as well as their changes in position with the annual solar cycle. Nonetheless, the comparison also reveals a number of model shortfalls including (1) excessive hydrometeor coverage at all altitudes over many convectively active regions, (2) a lack of low-level hydrometeors over all subtropical oceanic basins, (3) excessive low-level hydrometeor coverage (principally precipitating hydrometeors) in the midlatitude storm tracks of both hemispheres during the summer season (in each hemisphere), and (4) a thin band of low-level hydrometeors in the Southern Hemisphere of the central (and at times eastern and western) Pacific in the MMF, which is not observed by CloudSat. This band resembles a second much weaker ITCZ but is restricted to low levels.