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Title: On the Interaction between Marine Boundary Layer Cellular Cloudiness and Surface Heat Fluxes

The interaction between marine boundary layer cellular cloudiness and surface uxes of sensible and latent heat is investigated. The investigation focuses on the non-precipitating closed-cell state and the precipitating open-cell state at low geostrophic wind speed. The Advanced Research WRF model is used to conduct cloud-system-resolving simulations with interactive surface fluxes of sensible heat, latent heat, and of sea salt aerosol, and with a detailed representation of the interaction between aerosol particles and clouds. The mechanisms responsible for the temporal evolution and spatial distribution of the surface heat fluxes in the closed- and open-cell state are investigated and explained. It is found that the horizontal spatial structure of the closed-cell state determines, by entrainment of dry free tropospheric air, the spatial distribution of surface air temperature and water vapor, and, to a lesser degree, of the surface sensible and latent heat flux. The synchronized dynamics of the the open-cell state drives oscillations in surface air temperature, water vapor, and in the surface fluxes of sensible and latent heat, and of sea salt aerosol. Open-cell cloud formation, cloud optical depth and liquid water path, and cloud and rain water path are identified as good predictors of the spatial distribution of surfacemore » air temperature and sensible heat flux, but not of surface water vapor and latent heat flux. It is shown that by enhancing the surface sensible heat flux, the open-cell state creates conditions by which it is maintained. While the open-cell state under consideration is not depleted in aerosol, and is insensitive to variations in sea-salt fluxes, it also enhances the sea-salt flux relative to the closed-cell state. In aerosol-depleted conditions, this enhancement may replenish the aerosol needed for cloud formation, and hence contribute to the perpetuation of the open-cell state as well. Spatial homogenization of the surface fluxes is found to have only a small effect on cloud properties in the investigated cases. This indicates that sub-grid scale spatial variability in the surface flux of sensible and latent heat and of sea salt aerosol may not be required in large scale and global models to describe marine boundary layer cellular cloudiness.« less
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
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Journal Name: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 14(1):61-79
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
marine; layer; cellular; cloud; cloudiness; surface; heat; fluxes