Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA
Abstract. A new cloud parcel model (CPM) including activation, condensation, collision-coalescence, and lateral entrainment processes is presented here to investigate aerosol-cloud interactions (ACI) in cumulus development prior to rainfall onset. The CPM was employed along with ground based radar and surface aerosol measurements to predict the vertical structure of cloud formation at early stages and evaluated against airborne observations of cloud microphysics and thermodynamic conditions during the Integrated Precipitation and Hydrology Experiment (IPHEx) over the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Further, the CPM was applied to explore the space of ACI physical parameters controlling cumulus congestus growth not available from measurements, and to examine how variations in aerosol properties and microphysical processes influence the evolution and thermodynamic state of clouds over complex terrain via sensitivity analysis. Modelling results indicate that aerosol-cloud droplet number concentration (CDNC) closure is achieved optimally to ~ 1.3 % of the observations for condensation coefficient (ac) = 0.01 and within 5 % for 0.01 < ac 0.015, and the corresponding spectra in the predictions are in good agreement with IPHEx aircraft observations around the same altitude. This is in contrast with larger closure errors and high ac values reported in previous studies assuming adiabatic conditions. Entrainment is shown to govern the vertical development of clouds and the change of droplet numbers with height, and the sensitivity analysis suggests that entrainment strength and condensation process are mutually compensating to attain aerosol-CDNC closure. Simulated CDNC also exhibits high sensitivity to variations in initial aerosol concentration at cloud base, but weak sensitivity to aerosol hygroscopicity. Exploratory multiple-parcel simulations capture realistic time-scales of vertical development of cumulus congestus (deeper clouds and faster droplet growth). These findings provide new insights into determinant factors of mid-day cumulus congestus formation that can explain a large fraction of warm season rainfall in mountainous regions.
How to cite. Duan, Y., Petters, M. D., and Barros, A. P.: Understanding aerosol-cloud interactions in the development of orographic cumulus congestus during IPHEx, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss. [preprint], https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2017-396, 2017.
Received: 28 Apr 2017 – Discussion started: 22 May 2017
To investigate aerosol-cloud interactions in cumulus development, a new cloud parcel model is developed to predict the vertical structure of cloud formation at early stages and evaluated against airborne observations during the Integrated Precipitation and Hydrology Experiment over the Southern Appalachian Mountains. The findings provide new insights into determinant factors of mid-day cumulus congestus formation that can explain a large fraction of warm season rainfall in mountainous regions.
To investigate aerosol-cloud interactions in cumulus development, a new cloud parcel model is...