Influence of entrainment of CCN on microphysical properties of warm cumulus
- Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht (IMAU), Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Abstract. We use a 1-D cloud model with explicit microphysics and a binned representation of the aerosol size distribution to investigate the influence of entrainment of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) on the microphysical development of warm cumulus clouds. For a more realistic representation of cloud drop spectral width, the model separates droplets that grow on aerosol that is initially present in the cloud from droplets growing on entrained aerosol. Model results are compared with observations of trade wind cumulus microphysics from the Rain in Cumulus over the Ocean experiment (RICO, 2004–2005). The results indicate that CCN are entrained throughout the entire cloud depth, and inside the cloud part of these may be activated. Compared to a simulation where entrainment of ambient CCN is neglected this leads to higher cloud droplet number concentrations (CDNC) and a continuous presence of droplets in the range smaller than ~5 μm that is consistent with the observations. Cloud dynamics are sensitive to the entrainment parameter as well as to the applied initial vertical velocity, as expressed by the liquid water content and cloud top height. However, simulated cloud drop spectra remain relatively unaffected for the specific conditions during RICO.