Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Increased horizontal and vertical resolution in global atmospheric models can reduce a significant amount of the biases associated with subtropical marine stratocumulus. The sensitivity of offshore and coastal marine stratocumulus to different horizontal and vertical resolutions has been investigated by using Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) coupled with the novel Framework for Improvement by Vertical Enhancement (FIVE) which is to increase the vertical resolution only for specific physical processes to improve the representation of marine stratocumulus while saving computational cost. Our study shows that high vertical resolution is the key to improve marine stratocumulus simulations in E3SM. Concurrent horizontal and vertical resolution increases are needed for substantial overall reduction of stubborn marine stratocumulus biases over the coastal region but not necessarily in the offshore area. By increasing the horizontal resolution using a regionally refined mesh (RRM) over our region of interest in addition to using FIVE that is important for stratocumulus. We apply the RRM off the coast of Peru in the southeastern Pacific, a region that climatologically contains the most marine stratocumulus in the subtropics. We find that our new modeling framework is able to replicate the results of our high-resolution benchmark simulation with much fidelity, while reducing the computational cost by several orders of magnitude. In addition, this framework is able to greatly reduce the long-standing biases associated with marine stratocumulus in global climate models when compared to the standard-resolution control simulation.