Articles | Volume 14, issue 14
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 7573–7583, 2014
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 7573–7583, 2014

Research article 29 Jul 2014

Research article | 29 Jul 2014

3-D model simulations of dynamical and microphysical interactions in pyroconvective clouds under idealized conditions

P. Reutter1,2, J. Trentmann3, A. Seifert3, P. Neis1,2, H. Su1, D. Chang1, M. Herzog4, H. Wernli5, M. O. Andreae1, and U. Pöschl1 P. Reutter et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Biogeochemistry and Multiphase Chemistry Departments, Mainz, Germany
  • 2Institute for Atmospheric Physics, Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz, Germany
  • 3Deutscher Wetterdienst, DWD, Offenbach, Germany
  • 4Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • 5ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Abstract. Dynamical and microphysical processes in pyroconvective clouds in mid-latitude conditions are investigated using idealized three-dimensional simulations with the Active Tracer High resolution Atmospheric Model (ATHAM). A state-of-the-art two-moment microphysical scheme building upon a realistic parameterization of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) activation has been implemented in order to study the influence of aerosol concentration on cloud development. The results show that aerosol concentration influences the formation of precipitation. For low aerosol concentrations (NCN = 200 cm−3), rain droplets are rapidly formed by autoconversion of cloud droplets. This also triggers the formation of large graupel and hail particles, resulting in an early onset of precipitation. With increasing aerosol concentration (NCN = 1000 cm−3 and NCN = 20 000 cm−3) the formation of rain droplets is delayed due to more but smaller cloud droplets. Therefore, the formation of ice crystals and snowflakes becomes more important for the eventual formation of graupel and hail, which is delayed at higher aerosol concentrations. This results in a delay of the onset of precipitation and a reduction of its intensity with increasing aerosol concentration. This study is the first detailed investigation of the interaction between cloud microphysics and the dynamics of a pyroconvective cloud using the combination of a high-resolution atmospheric model and a detailed microphysical scheme.

Final-revised paper