Articles | Volume 13, issue 16
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 8489–8503, 2013

Special issue: European Integrated Project on Aerosol-Cloud-Climate and Air...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 8489–8503, 2013

Research article 27 Aug 2013

Research article | 27 Aug 2013

Modeling microphysical effects of entrainment in clouds observed during EUCAARI-IMPACT field campaign

D. Jarecka1, H. Pawlowska1, W. W. Grabowski2, and A. A. Wyszogrodzki2 D. Jarecka et al.
  • 1Institute of Geophysics, Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
  • 2National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Abstract. This paper discusses aircraft observations and large-eddy simulation (LES) modeling of 15 May 2008, North Sea boundary-layer clouds from the EUCAARI-IMPACT field campaign. These clouds are advected from the northeast by the prevailing lower-tropospheric winds and featured stratocumulus-over-cumulus cloud formations. An almost-solid stratocumulus deck in the upper part of the relatively deep, weakly decoupled marine boundary layer overlays a field of small cumuli. The two cloud formations have distinct microphysical characteristics that are in general agreement with numerous past observations of strongly diluted shallow cumuli on one hand and solid marine stratocumulus on the other.

Based on the available observations, a LES model setup is developed and applied in simulations using a novel LES model. The model features a double-moment warm-rain bulk microphysics scheme combined with a sophisticated subgrid-scale scheme allowing local prediction of the homogeneity of the subgrid-scale turbulent mixing. The homogeneity depends on the characteristic time scales for the droplet evaporation and for the turbulent homogenization. In the model, these scales are derived locally based on the subgrid-scale turbulent kinetic energy, spatial scale of cloudy filaments, mean cloud droplet radius, and humidity of the cloud-free air entrained into a cloud, all predicted by the LES model. The model reproduces contrasting macrophysical and microphysical characteristics of the cumulus and stratocumulus cloud layers. Simulated subgrid-scale turbulent mixing within the cumulus layer and near the stratocumulus top is on average quite inhomogeneous, but varies significantly depending on the local conditions.

Final-revised paper