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Title: Simulation of Mesoscale Cellular Convection in Marine Stratocumulus: 2. Nondrizzling Conditions

Abstract

This is the second of two large-eddy simulation studies on the mechanisms of mesoscale cellular organization in drizzling (open cells) and nondrizzling marine stratocumulus (closed cells). This study uses a hard nudging approach which maintains fixed horizontal-mean temperature and humidity profiles for a well-mixed boundary layer with a constant boundary layer depth. For the case studied, closed cells develop and broaden by 32 hr to an aspect ratio of 25. Simulations show that the closed-cell mesoscale cellular convection is driven by positive feedback from cloud-induced mesoscale perturbations of longwave radiative cooling. A conceptual model for closed-cell stratocumulus as a mesoscale wavelength hydrodynamic instability in which mesoscale moist and dry anomalies spontaneously grow is presented. In simulations in which long-wavelength sinusoidal moisture anomalies are initially imposed, these anomalies evolve into amplifying closed cells. The cell structure is visualized with a compositing approach based on sorting grid columns by their mesoscale-smoothed total water path. A thermally direct mesoscale circulation pattern develops in the interior of the boundary layer with buoyant mesoscale updrafts, thicker cloud, and a slightly higher capping inversion in the moister columns. There is a mesoscale flow of above-inversion air down the slightly sloping capping inversion from the moist tomore » the dry regions, reinforced by cloud top radiative cooling. This strengthens the mesoscale anomalies by preferentially cooling and drying the already dry regions. The sloping inversion flow is not driven as efficiently if the radiative cooling is artificially horizontally homogenized, partly disrupting this positive feedback and the resulting closed-cell development.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Department of Atmospheric SciencesUniversity of Washington Seattle WA USA
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1489419
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1611631
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0011602; SC0012451
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems Journal Volume: 11 Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1942-2466
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences; mesoscale organization; boundary layer dynamics; stratocumulus; large‐eddy simulation; mesoscale cellular convection; cloud top radiative cooling

Citation Formats

Zhou, Xiaoli, and Bretherton, Christopher S. Simulation of Mesoscale Cellular Convection in Marine Stratocumulus: 2. Nondrizzling Conditions. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1029/2018MS001448.
Zhou, Xiaoli, & Bretherton, Christopher S. Simulation of Mesoscale Cellular Convection in Marine Stratocumulus: 2. Nondrizzling Conditions. United States. doi:https://doi.org/10.1029/2018MS001448
Zhou, Xiaoli, and Bretherton, Christopher S. Wed . "Simulation of Mesoscale Cellular Convection in Marine Stratocumulus: 2. Nondrizzling Conditions". United States. doi:https://doi.org/10.1029/2018MS001448.
@article{osti_1489419,
title = {Simulation of Mesoscale Cellular Convection in Marine Stratocumulus: 2. Nondrizzling Conditions},
author = {Zhou, Xiaoli and Bretherton, Christopher S.},
abstractNote = {This is the second of two large-eddy simulation studies on the mechanisms of mesoscale cellular organization in drizzling (open cells) and nondrizzling marine stratocumulus (closed cells). This study uses a hard nudging approach which maintains fixed horizontal-mean temperature and humidity profiles for a well-mixed boundary layer with a constant boundary layer depth. For the case studied, closed cells develop and broaden by 32 hr to an aspect ratio of 25. Simulations show that the closed-cell mesoscale cellular convection is driven by positive feedback from cloud-induced mesoscale perturbations of longwave radiative cooling. A conceptual model for closed-cell stratocumulus as a mesoscale wavelength hydrodynamic instability in which mesoscale moist and dry anomalies spontaneously grow is presented. In simulations in which long-wavelength sinusoidal moisture anomalies are initially imposed, these anomalies evolve into amplifying closed cells. The cell structure is visualized with a compositing approach based on sorting grid columns by their mesoscale-smoothed total water path. A thermally direct mesoscale circulation pattern develops in the interior of the boundary layer with buoyant mesoscale updrafts, thicker cloud, and a slightly higher capping inversion in the moister columns. There is a mesoscale flow of above-inversion air down the slightly sloping capping inversion from the moist to the dry regions, reinforced by cloud top radiative cooling. This strengthens the mesoscale anomalies by preferentially cooling and drying the already dry regions. The sloping inversion flow is not driven as efficiently if the radiative cooling is artificially horizontally homogenized, partly disrupting this positive feedback and the resulting closed-cell development.},
doi = {10.1029/2018MS001448},
journal = {Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems},
number = 1,
volume = 11,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {11}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2018MS001448

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Cited by: 2 works
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    Works referencing / citing this record:

    Satellite‐Based Estimation of Cloud Top Radiative Cooling Rate for Marine Stratocumulus
    journal, April 2019

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