AbstractThis study introduces a methodology to simulate how spatially heterogeneous urban aerosols modify a precipitating thunderstorm in a numerical weather model. An air quality model (simple photochemical model) was coupled with a high-resolution mesoscale weather model (the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System) and generated variable urban cloud condensation nuclei values consistent with those measured in previous field studies. The coupled emission model was used to simulate the passage of a synoptic low pressure system with embedded thunderstorms over an idealized city using the real-atmosphere idealized land surface (RAIL) method. Experiments were conducted to calibrate the surface formation of cloud-nucleating aerosols in an urban environment and then to assess the specific response of different aerosol loads on simulated precipitation. The model response to aerosol heterogeneity reduced the total precipitation but significantly increased simulated rain rates. High-aerosol-loading scenarios produced a peak city-edge precipitation rate of over 100 mm h−1 greater than a control containing only a city land surface with no emissions. In comparing the control with a scenario with no city, it was seen that the land surface effect produced a rain rate increase of up to 20 mm h−1. Results indicate, within the limits of the model framework, that the urban rainfall modification is a combination of land heterogeneity causing the dynamical lifting of the air mass and aerosols, with rainfall enhancement being maintained and synergistically increased because of the aerosol indirect effects on cloud properties.
Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology – American Meteorological Society
Published: Aug 22, 2017
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