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Title: Impact of subgrid-scale radiative heating variability on the stratocumulus-to-trade cumulus transition in climate models

Subgrid-scale interactions between turbulence and radiation are potentially important for accurately reproducing marine low clouds in climate models. To better understand the impact of these interactions, the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model is configured for large eddy simulation (LES) to study the stratocumulus-to-trade cumulus (Sc-to-Cu) transition. Using the GEWEX Atmospheric System Studies (GASS) composite Lagrangian transition case and the Atlantic Trade Wind Experiment (ATEX) case, it is shown that the lack of subgrid-scale turbulence-radiation interaction, as is the case in current generation climate models, accelerates the Sc-to-Cu transition. Our analysis suggests that in cloud-topped boundary layers subgrid-scale turbulence-radiation interactions contribute to stronger production of temperature variance, which in turn leads to stronger buoyancy production of turbulent kinetic energy and helps to maintain the Sc cover.
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
47809; KP1501021
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres), 119(7):4192–4203
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory