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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

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
ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
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
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Research Org:
Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; LES; marine boundary layer; clouds; stratocumulus; cumulus; large-eddy simulation
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1351640; OSTI ID: 1393515