Implementation and calibration of a stochastic multicloud convective parameterization in the NCEP Climate Forecast System (CFSv2)

B. B. Goswami, B. Khouider, R. Phani, P. Mukhopadhyay, A. J. Majda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A comparative analysis of fourteen 5 year long climate simulations produced by the National Centers for Environmental Predictions (NCEP) Climate Forecast System version 2 (CFSv2), in which a stochastic multicloud (SMCM) cumulus parameterization is implemented, is presented here. These 5 year runs are made with different sets of parameters in order to figure out the best model configuration based on a suite of state-of-the-art metrics. This analysis is also a systematic attempt to understand the model sensitivity to the SMCM parameters. The model is found to be resilient to minor changes in the parameters used implying robustness of the SMCM formulation. The model is found to be most sensitive to the midtropospheric dryness parameter (MTD) and to the stratiform cloud decay timescale (τ30). MTD is more effective in controlling the global mean precipitation and its distribution while τ30 has more effect on the organization of convection as noticed in the simulation of the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO). This is consistent with the fact that in the SMCM formulation, midtropospheric humidity controls the deepening of convection and stratiform clouds control the backward tilt of tropospheric heating and the strength of unsaturated downdrafts which cool and dry the boundary layer and trigger the propagation of organized convection. Many other studies have also found midtropospheric humidity to be a key factor in the capacity of a global climate model to simulate organized convection on the synoptic and intraseasonal scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1721-1739
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • CFSv2
  • calibration
  • implementation
  • stochastic multicloud model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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