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Title: Surface-based observations of mesoscale cumulus-stratocumulus interaction during ASTEX

Abstract

Data obtained from the island of Santa Maria in the Azores, during the Atlantic Stratocumulus Transition Experiment (ASTEX) are used to describe cloud and boundary-layer structure for a 24-h period on 15 June 1992 over the east-central Atlantic. The evolution of the mesoscale cloud structure during a 24-h period in the vertical column above the surface site was characterized using a 94-GHz radar, a laser ceilometer, 3-h radiosonde ascents, and surface micrometerological instrumentation. Mesoscale circulations and drizzle were found to be key elements of the boundary-layer clouds observed in this region. During the late-night and predawn hours, a single layer of stratocumulus that averaged 200m in thickness topped a well-mixed marine boundary layer. Mesoscale cellular convection (MCC), which had ascending regions with horizontal dimensions of 7 km, was observed during this period. At sunrise, decoupling was imposed on this MMC, and extreme mesoscale variations in the cloud thickness and surface precipitation rate were observed. These variations included mesoscale patches of cumulus that rose from the surface-lifting condensation level into the overlying stratocumulus, co-existing with patches of decoupled stratocumulus that occasionally had small, shallow cumulus beneath. The average horizontal scale of these interaction regions was found to be on the ordermore » of 12 km, and mesoscale variations in the cloud thickness of as much as 400 m were indicated during the daytime. Major drizzle events observed at the surface were shown to correspond with the deepening of the cumulus layer. Evidence was presented that mesoscale cumulus-stratocumulus interaction regions were affecting the surrounding decoupled regions through (i) the vertical transport of properties of the surface moist layer to decoupled stratocumulus by nearby cumulus and (ii) the extended influence of subcloud-layer wakes induced by major precipitation events to nearby decoupled regions.« less

Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
106831
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 52; Journal Issue: 16; Other Information: PBD: 15 Aug 1995
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 58 GEOSCIENCES; CLOUDS; HEAT TRANSFER; GREENHOUSE EFFECT; METEOROLOGY; RADIATIVE COOLING; ALBEDO; CLIMATE MODELS; TRAPPING; RADAR; DAILY VARIATIONS; MESOSPHERE; LAYERS; MOISTURE; TEMPERATURE DISTRIBUTION; WIND; CLOUD COVER

Citation Formats

Miller, M.A., and Albrecht, B.A. Surface-based observations of mesoscale cumulus-stratocumulus interaction during ASTEX. United States: N. p., 1995. Web. doi:10.1175/1520-0469(1995)052<2809:SBOOMC>2.0.CO;2.
Miller, M.A., & Albrecht, B.A. Surface-based observations of mesoscale cumulus-stratocumulus interaction during ASTEX. United States. doi:10.1175/1520-0469(1995)052<2809:SBOOMC>2.0.CO;2.
Miller, M.A., and Albrecht, B.A. Tue . "Surface-based observations of mesoscale cumulus-stratocumulus interaction during ASTEX". United States. doi:10.1175/1520-0469(1995)052<2809:SBOOMC>2.0.CO;2.
@article{osti_106831,
title = {Surface-based observations of mesoscale cumulus-stratocumulus interaction during ASTEX},
author = {Miller, M.A. and Albrecht, B.A.},
abstractNote = {Data obtained from the island of Santa Maria in the Azores, during the Atlantic Stratocumulus Transition Experiment (ASTEX) are used to describe cloud and boundary-layer structure for a 24-h period on 15 June 1992 over the east-central Atlantic. The evolution of the mesoscale cloud structure during a 24-h period in the vertical column above the surface site was characterized using a 94-GHz radar, a laser ceilometer, 3-h radiosonde ascents, and surface micrometerological instrumentation. Mesoscale circulations and drizzle were found to be key elements of the boundary-layer clouds observed in this region. During the late-night and predawn hours, a single layer of stratocumulus that averaged 200m in thickness topped a well-mixed marine boundary layer. Mesoscale cellular convection (MCC), which had ascending regions with horizontal dimensions of 7 km, was observed during this period. At sunrise, decoupling was imposed on this MMC, and extreme mesoscale variations in the cloud thickness and surface precipitation rate were observed. These variations included mesoscale patches of cumulus that rose from the surface-lifting condensation level into the overlying stratocumulus, co-existing with patches of decoupled stratocumulus that occasionally had small, shallow cumulus beneath. The average horizontal scale of these interaction regions was found to be on the order of 12 km, and mesoscale variations in the cloud thickness of as much as 400 m were indicated during the daytime. Major drizzle events observed at the surface were shown to correspond with the deepening of the cumulus layer. Evidence was presented that mesoscale cumulus-stratocumulus interaction regions were affecting the surrounding decoupled regions through (i) the vertical transport of properties of the surface moist layer to decoupled stratocumulus by nearby cumulus and (ii) the extended influence of subcloud-layer wakes induced by major precipitation events to nearby decoupled regions.},
doi = {10.1175/1520-0469(1995)052<2809:SBOOMC>2.0.CO;2},
journal = {Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences},
number = 16,
volume = 52,
place = {United States},
year = {1995},
month = {8}
}