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Master's Defense

Department of Atmospheric Science

Thurs., Jun. 29, 11:00 am, EN6085

Microphysical and Dynamical Effects of Mixed-Phase Hydrometeors in Convective Storms Using a Bin Microphysics Model

Kevin Kacan

University of Wyoming


Convective storms, especially organized linear convection, are largely controlled by near-surface cooling via evaporation and melting of falling hydrometeors. In most numerical simulations, the melting of frozen hydrometeors (e.g., hail, graupel, snow, etc.) is computed within parameterized bulk microphysics schemes, which currently lack the ability to accurately represent mixed-phase hydrometeors (i.e., partially melted hail), affecting hydrometeor sedimentation, melting, and evaporation of shed drops. To better understand the microphysical and dynamical effects of melting in convective storms, a bin microphysics scheme was implemented in the WRF model for two idealized cases: a supercell storm and a squall line. Ice was partitioned between pristine ice, snow, and a hybrid graupel/hail category, and a melt fraction parameter was added to prognose the amount of melting that occurs in each frozen hydrometeor bin below the freezing level. Results suggest that by using time-dependent melting, the amount and phase of precipitation that reaches the surface can vary greatly. Moreover, the dynamic and thermodynamic environment can be perturbed based solely on the difference in melting, resulting in varied storm system evolution. Furthermore, the effects of melting on the evolution of the studied systems is found to be dependent on the initial aerosol concentration.

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