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Title: Sensitivity to Physical and Numerical Aspects of Large-Eddy Simulation of Stratocumulus

Abstract

Abstract A series of numerical experiments where both physical and numerical model parameters are varied with respect to a reference setup is used to investigate the physics of a stratocumulus cloud and the performance of a large-eddy simulation (LES) model. The simulations show a delicate balance of physical processes with some sensitivities amplified by numerical model features. A strong feedback between cloud liquid, cloud-top radiative cooling, and turbulence leads to slow grid convergence of the turbulent fluxes. For a methodology that diagnoses cloud liquid from conserved variables, small errors in the total water amount result in large liquid water errors, which are amplified by the cloud-top radiative cooling leading to large variations of buoyancy forcing. In contrast, when the liquid–radiation–buoyancy feedback is not present in simulations without radiation, the turbulence structure of the boundary layer remains essentially identical for grid resolutions between 20 and 1.25 m. The present runs suggest that the buoyancy reversal instability significantly enhances the entrainment rate. Even though cloud-top radiative cooling is regarded as a key attribute of stratocumulus, the present simulations suggest that surface fluxes and surface shear significantly contribute to the total turbulent kinetic energy. Turbulence spectra exhibit inertial range scaling away from themore » confinement effects of the surface and inversion. Fine grid resolution LESs agree with observations, especially with respect to cloud liquid and vertical velocity variance, and exhibit grid convergence without any model tuning or ad hoc model choices.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2]
  1. Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut
  2. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
Publication Date:
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER)
OSTI Identifier:
1530921
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Monthly Weather Review
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Monthly Weather Review Journal Volume: 147 Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 0027-0644
Publisher:
American Meteorological Society
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Matheou, Georgios, and Teixeira, João. Sensitivity to Physical and Numerical Aspects of Large-Eddy Simulation of Stratocumulus. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1175/MWR-D-18-0294.1.
Matheou, Georgios, & Teixeira, João. Sensitivity to Physical and Numerical Aspects of Large-Eddy Simulation of Stratocumulus. United States. doi:10.1175/MWR-D-18-0294.1.
Matheou, Georgios, and Teixeira, João. Wed . "Sensitivity to Physical and Numerical Aspects of Large-Eddy Simulation of Stratocumulus". United States. doi:10.1175/MWR-D-18-0294.1.
@article{osti_1530921,
title = {Sensitivity to Physical and Numerical Aspects of Large-Eddy Simulation of Stratocumulus},
author = {Matheou, Georgios and Teixeira, João},
abstractNote = {Abstract A series of numerical experiments where both physical and numerical model parameters are varied with respect to a reference setup is used to investigate the physics of a stratocumulus cloud and the performance of a large-eddy simulation (LES) model. The simulations show a delicate balance of physical processes with some sensitivities amplified by numerical model features. A strong feedback between cloud liquid, cloud-top radiative cooling, and turbulence leads to slow grid convergence of the turbulent fluxes. For a methodology that diagnoses cloud liquid from conserved variables, small errors in the total water amount result in large liquid water errors, which are amplified by the cloud-top radiative cooling leading to large variations of buoyancy forcing. In contrast, when the liquid–radiation–buoyancy feedback is not present in simulations without radiation, the turbulence structure of the boundary layer remains essentially identical for grid resolutions between 20 and 1.25 m. The present runs suggest that the buoyancy reversal instability significantly enhances the entrainment rate. Even though cloud-top radiative cooling is regarded as a key attribute of stratocumulus, the present simulations suggest that surface fluxes and surface shear significantly contribute to the total turbulent kinetic energy. Turbulence spectra exhibit inertial range scaling away from the confinement effects of the surface and inversion. Fine grid resolution LESs agree with observations, especially with respect to cloud liquid and vertical velocity variance, and exhibit grid convergence without any model tuning or ad hoc model choices.},
doi = {10.1175/MWR-D-18-0294.1},
journal = {Monthly Weather Review},
number = 7,
volume = 147,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {7}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.1175/MWR-D-18-0294.1

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 1 work
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