Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Volume 126, Issue 8

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American Geophysical Union (AGU)
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Precipitation Type Distribution and Microphysical Processes During the 1998 Ice Storm Simulated Under Pseudo‐Warmer Conditions
Mélissa Cholette | Julie M. Thériault

In the future, the intensity, phases, and frequency of precipitation are expected to change due to global warming, in particular during colder seasons when temperatures are near 0°C. To investigate the impacts of warmer atmospheric conditions on the microphysical processes that lead to several precipitation types, the extreme 1998 Ice Storm was simulated using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, with and without a pseudo-global warming. The pseudo-global warming approach simulates similar large-scale conditions but in warmer conditions, which allows for the assessment of thermodynamic feedback from cloud and precipitation microphysics. For both simulations, WRF was coupled with the Predicted Particle Properties (P3) bulk microphysics scheme that predicts the liquid fraction of mixed-phase particles. Results of the pseudo-global warming simulation show an increase of ∼828 m in the upper 0°C level and a northeastward migration (∼60 km) of the rain-snow transition region. The results also show a 20% decrease in domain-averaged freezing rain amounts, but with an increased maximum amount of 50%. The horizontal distance associated with a melting aloft and a refreezing layer near the surface is 105 km longer in southern Quebec due to the combined effects of the pseudo-warming and the presence of the Appalachian Mountains. The microphysical processes that lead to precipitation are impacted as well; the increased ice mass and riming conditions aloft in warmer temperatures result in higher liquid precipitation rates. This study contributes to our understanding of the changes in the fine-scale processes of an extreme storm, simulated with pseudo-global warming conditions.