Ice multiplication from ice-ice collisions in the high Arctic: Sensitivity to ice habit, rimed fraction, ice type and uncertainties in the numerical description of the process
Journal article, 2021
Atmospheric models often fail to correctly reproduce the microphysical structure of Arctic mixed-phase clouds and underpredict ice water content even when the simulations are constrained by observed levels of ice nucleating particles. In this study we investigate whether ice multiplication from breakup upon ice-ice collisions, a process missing in most models, can account for the observed cloud ice in a stratocumulus cloud observed during the Arctic Summer Cloud Ocean Study (ASCOS) campaign. Our results indicate that the efficiency of this process in these conditions is weak; increases in fragment generation are compensated for by subsequent enhancement of precipitation and subcloud sublimation. Activation of collisional breakup improves the representation of cloud ice content, but cloud liquid remains overestimated. In most sensitivity simulations, variations in ice habit and prescribed rimed fraction have little effect on the results. A few simulations result in explosive multiplication and cloud dissipation; however, in most setups, the overall multiplication effects become substantially weaker if the precipitation sink is enhanced through cloud-ice-to-snow autoconversion. The largest uncertainty stems from the correction factor for ice enhancement due to sublimation included in the breakup parameterization; excluding this correction results in rapid glaciation, especially in simulations with plates. Our results indicate that the lack of a detailed treatment of ice habit and rimed fraction in most bulk microphysics schemes is not detrimental for the description of the collisional breakup process in the examined conditions as long as cloud-ice-to-snow autoconversion is considered.