Predicting Frigid Mixed-Phase Clouds for Pristine Coastal Antarctica

Keith M. Hines, David H. Bromwich, Israel Silber, Lynn M. Russell, Lesheng Bai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Supercooled water is common in the clouds near coastal Antarctica and occasionally occurs at temperatures at or below −30°C. Yet the ice physics in most regional and global numerical models will glaciate out these clouds. This presents a challenge for the simulation of highly supercooled clouds that were observed at McMurdo, Antarctica during the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) West Antarctic Radiation Experiment (AWARE) project during 2015–2017. The polar optimized version of the Weather Research and Forecasting model (Polar WRF) with the recently developed two-moment P3 microphysics scheme was used to simulate observed supercooled liquid water cases during March and November 2016. Nudging of the simulations to observed rawinsonde profiles and Antarctic automatic weather station observations provided increased realism and much greater cloud water amounts. Sensitivity tests that adjust the ice physics for extremely low ice nucleating particle (INP) concentrations decrease cloud ice and increases the cloud liquid water closer to observed amounts. In these tests, a liquid layer near cloud top is simulated, in agreement with observations. Accurate representation of INP concentrations appears to be critical for the simulation of coastal Antarctic clouds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021JD035112
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 16 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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