Articles | Volume 15, issue 4
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 2009–2017, 2015
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 2009–2017, 2015

Research article 24 Feb 2015

Research article | 24 Feb 2015

The relative dispersion of cloud droplets: its robustness with respect to key cloud properties

E. Tas1,2, A. Teller1, O. Altaratz1, D. Axisa3, R. Bruintjes3, Z. Levin4,5, and I. Koren1 E. Tas et al.
  • 1Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
  • 2Department of Soil and Water Sciences, The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel
  • 3Research Applications Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 4Department of Geophysics and Planetary Science, Tel Aviv University, Israel
  • 5The Energy, Environment and Water Research Center, the Cyprus Institute, Nicosia, Cyprus

Abstract. Flight data measured in warm convective clouds near Istanbul in June 2008 were used to investigate the relative dispersion of cloud droplet size distribution. The relative dispersion (ϵ), defined as the ratio between the standard deviation (σ) of the cloud droplet size distribution and cloud droplet average radius (⟨r⟩), is a key factor in regional and global models. The relationship between ε and the clouds' microphysical and thermodynamic characteristics is examined. The results show that ε is constrained with average values in the range of ~0.25–0.35. ε is shown not to be correlated with cloud droplet concentration or liquid water content (LWC). However, ε variance is shown to be sensitive to droplet concentration and LWC, suggesting smaller variability of ϵ in the clouds' most adiabatic regions. A criterion for use of in situ airborne measurement data for calculations of statistical moments (used in bulk microphysical schemes), based on the evaluation of ϵ, is suggested.

Final-revised paper