Theoretical investigation of mixing in warm clouds – Part 2: Homogeneous mixing
Abstract. Evolution of monodisperse and polydisperse droplet size distributions (DSD) during homogeneous mixing is analyzed. Time-dependent universal analytical expressions for supersaturation and liquid water content are derived. For an initial monodisperse DSD, these quantities are shown to depend on a sole non-dimensional parameter. The evolution of moments and moment-related functions in the course of homogeneous evaporation of polydisperse DSD is analyzed using a parcel model.
It is shown that the classic conceptual scheme, according to which homogeneous mixing leads to a decrease in droplet mass at constant droplet concentration, is valid only in cases of monodisperse or initially very narrow polydisperse DSD. In cases of wide polydisperse DSD, mixing and successive evaporation lead to a decrease of both mass and concentration, so the characteristic droplet sizes remain nearly constant. As this feature is typically associated with inhomogeneous mixing, we conclude that in cases of an initially wide DSD at cloud top, homogeneous mixing is nearly indistinguishable from inhomogeneous mixing.