Articles | Volume 14, issue 13
Research article
01 Jul 2014
Research article |  | 01 Jul 2014

The effects of turbulent collision–coalescence on precipitation formation and precipitation-dynamical feedbacks in simulations of stratocumulus and shallow cumulus convection

C. N. Franklin

Abstract. A double moment warm rain scheme that includes the effects of turbulence on droplet collision rates has been implemented in a large-eddy model to investigate the impact of turbulence effects on clouds and precipitation. Simulations of shallow cumulus and stratocumulus show that different precipitation-dynamical feedbacks occur in these regimes when the effects of turbulence are included in the microphysical processes. In both cases inclusion of turbulent microphysics increases precipitation due to a more rapid conversion of cloud water to rain. In the shallow convection case, the greater water loading in the upper cloud levels reduces the buoyancy production of turbulent kinetic energy and the entrainment. The stratocumulus case on the other hand shows a weak positive precipitation feedback, with enhanced rainwater producing greater evaporation, stronger circulations and more turbulence. Sensitivity studies in which the cloud droplet number was varied show that greater number concentrations suppress the stratocumulus precipitation leading to larger liquid water paths. This positive second indirect aerosol effect shows no sensitivity to whether or not the effects of turbulence on droplet collision rates are included. While the sign of the second indirect effect is negative in the shallow convection case whether the effects of turbulence are considered or not, the magnitude of the effect is doubled when the turbulent microphysics are used. It is found that for these two different cloud regimes turbulence has a larger effect than cloud droplet number and the use of a different bulk microphysics scheme on producing rainfall in shallow cumuli. However, for the stratocumulus case examined here, the effects of turbulence on rainfall are not statistically significant and instead it is the cloud droplet number concentration or the choice of bulk microphysics scheme that has the largest control on the rain water.

Final-revised paper