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Title: Skill of ship-following large-eddy simulations in reproducing MAGIC observations across the northeast Pacific stratocumulus to cumulus transition region

Abstract

During the Marine ARM GPCI Investigation of Clouds (MAGIC) in October 2011 to September 2012, a container ship making periodic cruises between Los Angeles, CA, and Honolulu, HI, was instrumented with surface meteorological, aerosol and radiation instruments, a cloud radar and ceilometer, and radiosondes. Here large-eddy simulation (LES) is performed in a ship-following frame of reference for 13 four day transects from the MAGIC field campaign. The goal is to assess if LES can skillfully simulate the broad range of observed cloud characteristics and boundary layer structure across the subtropical stratocumulus to cumulus transition region sampled during different seasons and meteorological conditions. Results from Leg 15A, which sampled a particularly well-defined stratocumulus to cumulus transition, demonstrate the approach. The LES reproduces the observed timing of decoupling and transition from stratocumulus to cumulus and matches the observed evolution of boundary layer structure, cloud fraction, liquid water path, and precipitation statistics remarkably well. Considering the simulations of all 13 cruises, the LES skillfully simulates the mean diurnal variation of key measured quantities, including liquid water path (LWP), cloud fraction, measures of decoupling, and cloud radar-derived precipitation. The daily mean quantities are well represented, and daily mean LWP and cloud fraction show themore » expected correlation with estimated inversion strength. There is a –0.6 K low bias in LES near-surface air temperature that results in a high bias of 5.6 W m –2 in sensible heat flux (SHF). Altogether, these results build confidence in the ability of LES to represent the northeast Pacific stratocumulus to trade cumulus transition region.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1351638
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1351640; OSTI ID: 1393515
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0011602
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Published Article
Journal Name:
Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 1942-2466
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; LES; marine boundary layer; clouds; stratocumulus; cumulus; large-eddy simulation

Citation Formats

McGibbon, J., and Bretherton, C. S.. Skill of ship-following large-eddy simulations in reproducing MAGIC observations across the northeast Pacific stratocumulus to cumulus transition region. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1002/2017MS000924.
McGibbon, J., & Bretherton, C. S.. Skill of ship-following large-eddy simulations in reproducing MAGIC observations across the northeast Pacific stratocumulus to cumulus transition region. United States. doi:10.1002/2017MS000924.
McGibbon, J., and Bretherton, C. S.. Fri . "Skill of ship-following large-eddy simulations in reproducing MAGIC observations across the northeast Pacific stratocumulus to cumulus transition region". United States. doi:10.1002/2017MS000924.
@article{osti_1351638,
title = {Skill of ship-following large-eddy simulations in reproducing MAGIC observations across the northeast Pacific stratocumulus to cumulus transition region},
author = {McGibbon, J. and Bretherton, C. S.},
abstractNote = {During the Marine ARM GPCI Investigation of Clouds (MAGIC) in October 2011 to September 2012, a container ship making periodic cruises between Los Angeles, CA, and Honolulu, HI, was instrumented with surface meteorological, aerosol and radiation instruments, a cloud radar and ceilometer, and radiosondes. Here large-eddy simulation (LES) is performed in a ship-following frame of reference for 13 four day transects from the MAGIC field campaign. The goal is to assess if LES can skillfully simulate the broad range of observed cloud characteristics and boundary layer structure across the subtropical stratocumulus to cumulus transition region sampled during different seasons and meteorological conditions. Results from Leg 15A, which sampled a particularly well-defined stratocumulus to cumulus transition, demonstrate the approach. The LES reproduces the observed timing of decoupling and transition from stratocumulus to cumulus and matches the observed evolution of boundary layer structure, cloud fraction, liquid water path, and precipitation statistics remarkably well. Considering the simulations of all 13 cruises, the LES skillfully simulates the mean diurnal variation of key measured quantities, including liquid water path (LWP), cloud fraction, measures of decoupling, and cloud radar-derived precipitation. The daily mean quantities are well represented, and daily mean LWP and cloud fraction show the expected correlation with estimated inversion strength. There is a –0.6 K low bias in LES near-surface air temperature that results in a high bias of 5.6 W m–2 in sensible heat flux (SHF). Altogether, these results build confidence in the ability of LES to represent the northeast Pacific stratocumulus to trade cumulus transition region.},
doi = {10.1002/2017MS000924},
journal = {Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems},
number = 2,
volume = 9,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Mar 17 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Fri Mar 17 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record at 10.1002/2017MS000924

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 3works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

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  • During the Marine ARM GPCI Investigation of Clouds (MAGIC) in October 2011 to September 2012, a container ship making periodic cruises between Los Angeles, CA, and Honolulu, HI, was instrumented with surface meteorological, aerosol and radiation instruments, a cloud radar and ceilometer, and radiosondes. Here large-eddy simulation (LES) is performed in a ship-following frame of reference for 13 four day transects from the MAGIC field campaign. The goal is to assess if LES can skillfully simulate the broad range of observed cloud characteristics and boundary layer structure across the subtropical stratocumulus to cumulus transition region sampled during different seasons andmore » meteorological conditions. Results from Leg 15A, which sampled a particularly well-defined stratocumulus to cumulus transition, demonstrate the approach. The LES reproduces the observed timing of decoupling and transition from stratocumulus to cumulus and matches the observed evolution of boundary layer structure, cloud fraction, liquid water path, and precipitation statistics remarkably well. Considering the simulations of all 13 cruises, the LES skillfully simulates the mean diurnal variation of key measured quantities, including liquid water path (LWP), cloud fraction, measures of decoupling, and cloud radar-derived precipitation. The daily mean quantities are well represented, and daily mean LWP and cloud fraction show the expected correlation with estimated inversion strength. There is a –0.6 K low bias in LES near-surface air temperature that results in a high bias of 5.6 W m –2 in sensible heat flux (SHF). Altogether, these results build confidence in the ability of LES to represent the northeast Pacific stratocumulus to trade cumulus transition region.« less
  • A 60-hour case study of continental boundary layer cumulus clouds is examined using two large-eddy simulation (LES) models. The case is based on observations obtained during the RACORO Campaign (Routine Atmospheric Radiation Measurement [ARM] Aerial Facility [AAF] Clouds with Low Optical Water Depths [CLOWD] Optical Radiative Observations) at the ARM Climate Research Facility's Southern Great Plains site. The LES models are driven by continuous large-scale and surface forcings, and are constrained by multi-modal and temporally varying aerosol number size distribution profiles derived from aircraft observations. We compare simulated cloud macrophysical and microphysical properties with ground-based remote sensing and aircraft observations.more » The LES simulations capture the observed transitions of the evolving cumulus-topped boundary layers during the three daytime periods, and generally reproduce variations of droplet number concentration with liquid water content (LWC), corresponding to the gradient between the cloud centers and cloud edges at given heights. The observed LWC values fall within the range of simulated values; the observed droplet number concentrations are commonly higher than simulated, but differences remain on par with potential estimation errors in the aircraft measurements. Sensitivity studies examine the influences of bin microphysics versus bulk microphysics, aerosol advection, supersaturation treatment, and aerosol hygroscopicity. Simulated macrophysical cloud properties are found to be insensitive in this non-precipitating case, but microphysical properties are especially sensitive to bulk microphysics supersaturation treatment and aerosol hygroscopicity.« less
  • Ship measurements collected over the northeast Pacific along transects between the port of Los Angeles (33.7°N, 118.2°W) and Honolulu (21.3°N, 157.8°W) during May to August 2013 were utilized to investigate the covariability between marine low cloud microphysical and aerosol properties. Ship-based retrievals of cloud optical depth (τ) from a Sun photometer and liquid water path (LWP) from a microwave radiometer were combined to derive cloud droplet number concentration Nd and compute a cloud-aerosol interaction (ACI) metric defined as ACICCN = ∂ ln(Nd)/∂ ln(CCN), with CCN denoting the cloud condensation nuclei concentration measured at 0.4% (CCN0.4) and 0.3% (CCN0.3) supersaturation. Analysismore » of CCN0.4, accumulation mode aerosol concentration (Na), and extinction coefficient (σext) indicates that Na and σext can be used as CCN0.4 proxies for estimating ACI. ACICCN derived from 10 min averaged Nd and CCN0.4 and CCN0.3, and CCN0.4 regressions using Na and σext, produce high ACICCN: near 1.0, that is, a fractional change in aerosols is associated with an equivalent fractional change in Nd. ACICCN computed in deep boundary layers was small (ACICCN = 0.60), indicating that surface aerosol measurements inadequately represent the aerosol variability below clouds. Satellite cloud retrievals from MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer and GOES-15 data were compared against ship-based retrievals and further analyzed to compute a satellite-based ACICCN. Satellite data correlated well with their ship-based counterparts with linear correlation coefficients equal to or greater than 0.78. Combined satellite Nd and ship-based CCN0.4 and Na yielded a maximum ACICCN = 0.88–0.92, a value slightly less than the ship-based ACICCN, but still consistent with aircraft-based studies in the eastern Pacific.« less
  • Ship measurements collected over the northeast Pacific along transects between the port of Los Angeles (33.7°N, 118.2°W) and Honolulu (21.3°N, 157.8°W) during May to August 2013 were utilized to investigate the covariability between marine low cloud microphysical and aerosol properties. Ship-based retrievals of cloud optical depth (τ) from a Sun photometer and liquid water path (LWP) from a microwave radiometer were combined to derive cloud droplet number concentration Nd and compute a cloud-aerosol interaction (ACI) metric defined as ACICCN=∂ ln(Nd)/∂ ln(CCN), with CCN denoting the cloud condensation nuclei concentration measured at 0.4% (CCN0.4) and 0.3% (CCN0.3) supersaturation. Analysis of CCN0.4,more » accumulation mode aerosol concentration (Na), and extinction coefficient (σext) indicates that Na and σext can be used as CCN0.4 proxies for estimating ACI. ACICCN derived from 10 min averaged Nd and CCN0.4 and CCN0.3, and CCN0.4 regressions using Na and σext, produce high ACICCN: near 1.0, that is, a fractional change in aerosols is associated with an equivalent fractional change in Nd. ACICCN computed in deep boundary layers was small (ACICCN = 0.60), indicating that surface aerosol measurements inadequately represent the aerosol variability below clouds. Satellite cloud retrievals from MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer and GOES-15 data were compared against ship-based retrievals and further analyzed to compute a satellite-based ACICCN. Satellite data correlated well with their ship-based counterparts with linear correlation coefficients equal to or greater than 0.78. Combined satellite Nd and ship-based CCN0.4 and Na yielded a maximum ACICCN = 0.88–0.92, a value slightly less than the ship-based ACICCN, but still consistent with aircraft-based studies in the eastern Pacific.« less