Dr. Michael Murphy
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Abstract: Accurate representation of cloud microphysical processes in numerical weather and climate models has proven challenging, in part because of the highly specialized instrumentation required for diagnosing errors in simulated distributions of hydrometeors. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) polarimetric radio occultation (PRO) is a promising new technique that is sensitive to hydrometeors and has the potential to help address these challenges by providing microphysical observations that are relevant to larger spatial scales, especially if this type of observing system can be implemented on aircraft that can target heavy precipitation events. Two numerical experiments were run using a mesoscale model configured with two different microphysical parameterizations for a very intense atmospheric river (AR) event, that was sampled by aircraft deploying dropsondes just before it made landfall in California during the CalWater 2015 field campaign. The numerical experiments were used to simulate profiles of airborne polarimetric differential phase delay observations. The differential phase delay due to liquid water hydrometeors below the freezing level differed significantly in the two experiments, as well as the height of the maximum differential phase delay due to all hydrometeors combined. These results suggest that PRO observations from aircraft have the potential to contribute to validating and improving the representation of microphysical processes in numerical weather forecasts once these observations become available.