Numerical analysis using WRF-SBM for the cloud microphysical structures in the C3VP field campaign: Impacts of supercooled droplets and resultant riming on snow microphysics



[1] Two distinct snowfall events are observed over the region near the Great Lakes during 19–23 January 2007 under the intensive measurement campaign of the Canadian CloudSat/CALIPSO validation project (C3VP). These events are numerically investigated using the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with a spectral bin microphysics (WRF-SBM) scheme that allows a smooth calculation of riming process by predicting the rimed mass fraction on snow aggregates. The fundamental structures of the observed two snowfall systems are distinctly characterized by a localized intense lake-effect snowstorm in one case and a widely distributed moderate snowfall by the synoptic-scale system in another case. Furthermore, the observed microphysical structures are distinguished by differences in bulk density of solid-phase particles, which are probably linked to the presence or absence of supercooled droplets. The WRF-SBM coupled with Goddard Satellite Data Simulator Unit (G-SDSU) has successfully simulated these distinctive structures in the three-dimensional weather prediction run with a horizontal resolution of 1 km. In particular, riming on snow aggregates by supercooled droplets is considered to be of importance in reproducing the specialized microphysical structures in the case studies. Additional sensitivity tests for the lake-effect snowstorm case are conducted utilizing different planetary boundary layer (PBL) models or the same SBM but without the riming process. The PBL process has a large impact on determining the cloud microphysical structure of the lake-effect snowstorm as well as the surface precipitation pattern, whereas the riming process has little influence on the surface precipitation because of the small height of the system.