Climate Dynamics

, Volume 38, Issue 1–2, pp 411–429 | Cite as

A bulk mass flux convection scheme for climate model: description and moisture sensitivity

  • Daehyun Kim
  • In-Sik Kang


A convection scheme for climate model is developed based on Tiedtke’s (Mon Weather Rev 117:1779–1800, 1989) bulk mass flux framework and is evaluated with observational data and cloud resolving model simulation data. The main differences between the present parameterization and Tiedtke’s parameterization are the convection trigger, fractional entrainment and detrainment rate formulations, and closure method. Convection is triggered if the vertical velocity of a rising parcel is positive at the level at which the parcel is saturated. The fractional entrainment rate depends on the vertical velocity and buoyancy of the parcel as well as the environmental relative humidity. For the fractional detrainment rate, a linear decrease in the updraft mass flux above maximum buoyancy level is assumed. In the closure method, the cloud base mass flux is determined by considering both cloud layer instability and subcloud layer turbulent kinetic energy as controlling factors in the strength of the convection. The convection scheme is examined in a single column framework as well as using a general circulation model. The present bulk mass flux (BMF) scheme is compared with a simplified Relaxed Arakawa-Schubert (RAS) scheme. In contrast to the RAS, which specifies the cloud top, cloud top height in BMF depends on environmental properties, by considering the conditions of both the parcel and its environment in a fractional entrainment and detrainment rate formulations. As a result, BMF shows improved sensitivity in depth and strength of convection on environmental humidity compared to RAS, by strengthening coupling between cloud and environment. When the mid to lower troposphere is dry, the cloud resolving model and BMF produce cloud top around the dry layer and moisten the layer. In the framework of general circulation model, enhanced coupling between convection and environmental humidity in BMF results in improved representation of eastward propagating intraseasonal variability in the tropics—the Madden-Julian oscillation.


Cumulus parameterization Moisture sensitivity General circulation model 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Earth and Environmental SciencesSeoul National UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia UniversityPalisadesUSA

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