Comparison between Observed and Simulated AgI Seeding Impacts in a Well-Observed Case from the SNOWIE Field Program

Lulin Xue, Courtney Weeks, Sisi Chen, Sarah A. Tessendorf, Roy M. Rasmussen, Kyoko Ikeda, Branko Kosovic, Dalton Behringer, Jeffery R. French, Katja Friedrich, Troy J. Zaremba, Robert M. Rauber, Christian P. Lackner, Bart Geerts, Derek Blestrud, Melvin Kunkel, Nick Dawson, Shaun Parkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A dry-air intrusion induced by the tropopause folding split the deep cloud into two layers resulting in a shallow orographic cloud with a supercooled liquid cloud top at around 2158C and an ice cloud above it on 19 January 2017 during the Seeded and Natural Orographic Wintertime Clouds: The Idaho Experiment (SNOWIE). The airborne AgI seeding of this case was simulated by the WRFWeather Modification (WRF-WxMod) Model with different configurations. Simulations at different grid spacing, driven by different reanalysis data, using different model physics were conducted to explore the ability of WRF-WxMod to capture the properties of natural and seeded clouds. The detailed model–observation comparisons show that the simulation driven by ERA5 data, using Thompson–Eidhammer microphysics with 30% of the CCN climatology, best captured the observed cloud structure and supercooled liquid water properties. The ability of the model to correctly capture the wind field was critical for successful simulation of the seeding plume locations. The seeding plume features and ice number concentrations within them from the large-eddy simulations (LES) are in better agreement with observations than non-LES runs mostly due to weaker AgI dispersion associated with the finer grid spacing. Seeding effects on precipitation amount and impacted areas from LES seeding simulations agreed well with radar-derived values. This study shows thatWRF-WxMod is able to simulate and quantify observed features of natural and seeded clouds given that critical observations are available to validate the model. Observation-constrained seeding ensemble simulations are proposed to quantify the AgI seeding impacts on wintertime orographic clouds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022


  • Cloud microphysics
  • Cloud seeding
  • Orographic effects
  • Precipitation
  • Weather modification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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