| The representation of cumulus convection in high-resolution simulations of the 2013 Colorado Front Range Flood - :14579 | Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR)
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The representation of cumulus convection in high-resolution simulations of the 2013 Colorado Front Range Flood
  • Published Date:
    2016
  • Source:
    Mon. Wea. Rev.
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  • Description:
    Model simulations of the 2013 Colorado Front Range floods are performed using 4-km horizontal grid spacing to evaluate the impact of using explicit convection (EC) versus parameterized convection (CP) in the model convective physics “gray zone”. Significant differences in heavy precipitation forecasts are found across multiple regions in which heavy rain and high-impact flooding occurred. The relative contribution of CP-generated precipitation to total precipitation suggests that greater CP scheme activity in areas upstream of the Front Range flooding may have led to significant downstream model error. Heavy convective precipitation simulated by the Kain-Fritsch CP scheme in particular led to an alteration of the low-level moisture flux and moisture transport fields that ultimately prevented the generation of heavy precipitation in downstream areas as observed. An updated, scale-aware version of the Kain-Fritsch scheme is also tested, and decreased model errors both up- and down-stream suggest that scale-aware updates yield improvements in the simulation of this event. Comparison among multiple CP schemes demonstrate that there are model convective physics “gray zone” considerations that significantly impact the simulation of extreme rainfall in this event.

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