Sensitivity of Deep Convection and Cross-Tropopause Water Transport to Microphysical Parameterizations in WRF

Apoorva Pandey, Fayçal Lamraoui, Jessica B. Smith, Corey E. Clapp, David S. Sayres, Zhiming Kuang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Deep convective storms can overshoot the tropopause, thus altering the composition of the stratosphere by vertically transporting tropospheric air. The transport of water vapor and ice particles into a sub-saturated environment can hydrate the stratosphere, with implications for radiative forcing and ozone chemistry. Cloud-resolved models, if employed at high spatial resolutions, are used to probe process-level questions about cross-tropopause deep convective hydration and its controls. There is considerable diversity in model representations of processes associated with water transport and transformation, and the choice of a microphysics scheme affects model skill in simulating deep convective events. This motivates our evaluation of state-of-the-art, as well as widely used standard schemes, in a high spatial- and temporal-resolution framework. Six bulk microphysics schemes were employed in a WRF-LES setup, initialized with a sounding profile representative of a tropopause-overshooting storm. We used an idealized framework to isolate the effect of microphysics on the dominant processes that control the reach of deep convection and stratospheric hydration. All schemes produced the highest reaching updrafts 8–12 hr into the simulation but the strength and persistence of updrafts varied across the schemes; maximum storm heights ranged 9.1–12.6 km across the schemes. Varying microphysics produced large differences in the vertical extent and horizontal aggregation of convection, and an order of magnitude spread in above-tropopause water vapor concentrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2022JD037053
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 27 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • bulk microphysics
  • deep convection
  • idealized model
  • stratospheric hydration


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