2020 Volume 98 Issue 5 Pages 1069-1081
The impacts of the saturation adjustment type approach to sub-grid-scale (SGS) ice clouds in a turbulent closure scheme on the high clouds and their response to global warming were investigated based on the radiative–convective equilibrium experiments (RCEs). This was motivated by the fact that the time scale of ice condensation is several orders of magnitude longer than that for liquid water. The RCEs were conducted with uniform sea surface temper atures over the spherical domain for the Earth's radius without rotation using an explicit cloud microphysics and a non-hydrostatic icosahedral atmospheric model. This study revealed that suppressing the phase change effect associated with the SGS ice condensation on the buoyancy of the SGS turbulence could cause approximately a 20 % reduction of the total high cloud covers and a significantly different response of high cloud amounts to global warming due to the change in static stability near high clouds, which leads to weaker vertical heat transport at a sub-grid scale there. Since the typical value of the time scale of the ice-phase cloud is much longer than that of liquid water and the ice supersaturation is in general, using the saturation adjustment type approach for SGS ice clouds could lead to an overestimation of the effect of ice condensation for the turbulent mixing and model biases in simulations with both cloud resolving and general circulation models. The present result underlines the critical nature of the treatment of SGS ice clouds in turbulence schemes which reflects a realistic ice condensation time scale not only for a better representation of high clouds in the current climate but for an improved projection of changes of high clouds due to global warming.