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Spatial statistics of marine boundary layer clouds Gregory M. Lewis1

Summary: Spatial statistics of marine boundary layer clouds
Gregory M. Lewis1
The Fields Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Philip H. Austin
Atmospheric Sciences Programme, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Malgorzata Szczodrak
Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, Florida, USA
Received 1 May 2003; revised 17 December 2003; accepted 9 January 2004; published 25 February 2004.
[1] An analysis is presented of the structure functions and scalar spectra for 25 satellite-
derived marine stratocumulus cloud optical depth fields. The scenes, which cover a
horizontal domain of 58 58 km at a resolution of 28.5 m, are partitioned into two
ensembles on the basis of cloud fraction. For the fully cloudy scenes, although there is wide
scene-to-scene variability, both the average isotropic scalar spectrum and the average
isotropic second-order structure function exhibit power law behavior over approximately
two decades, with scale-invariant exponents equal to those expected for inertial-subrange
passive tracer fluctuations. Higher-order structure functions show anomalous scaling
that closely matches that observed for wind tunnel temperature fluctuations and for other
fully cloudy observations. The partly cloudy scenes, while scaling, show different behavior.
The average isotropic second-order structure function and average isotropic scalar spectrum
have scale-invariant exponents that are significantly smaller than those of the fully


Source: Austin, Philip H. - Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of British Columbia
Lewis, Greg - Faculty of Science, University of Ontario Institute of Technology


Collections: Geosciences; Mathematics