Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2022-809
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2022-809
 
20 Dec 2022
20 Dec 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Large-eddy simulation of a two-layer boundary-layer cloud system from the Arctic Ocean 2018 expedition

Ines Bulatovic1, Julien Savre2, Michael Tjernström1, Caroline Leck1, and Annica M. L. Ekman1 Ines Bulatovic et al.
  • 1Department of Meteorology and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm 106 91, Sweden
  • 2Meteorological Institute, Fakultät für Physik, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Munich 80333, Germany

Abstract. Climate change is particularly noticeable in the Arctic. The most common type of cloud at these latitudes is mixed-phase stratocumulus. These clouds occur frequently and persistently during all seasons and play a critical role in the Arctic energy budget. Previous observations in the central (north of 80° N) Arctic have shown a high occurrence of prolonged periods of a shallow, single-layer mixed-phase stratocumulus at the top of the boundary layer (BL; altitudes ~300 to 400 m). However, recent observations from the summer of 2018 instead showed a prevalence of a two-layer boundary-layer cloud system. Here we use large-eddy simulation to examine the maintenance of one of the cloud systems observed in the summer of 2018 as well as the sensitivity of the cloud layers to different micro- and macro-scale parameters. We find that the model generally reproduces the observed thermodynamic structure well, with two near-neutrally stratified layers in the BL caused by a low cloud (located within the first few hundred meters) capped by a lower temperature inversion, and an upper cloud layer (based around one km or slightly higher) capped by the main temperature inversion of the BL. The investigated cloud structure is persistent unless there are low aerosol number concentrations (≤ 5 cm-3), which cause the upper cloud layer to dissipate, or high large-scale wind speeds (greater than or equal 8.5 m s-1), which erode the lower inversion and the related cloud layer. These types of changes in cloud structure lead to a substantial reduction of the net longwave radiation at the surface due to a lower emissivity or higher altitude of the remaining cloud layer. The findings highlight the importance of better understanding and representing aerosol sources and sinks over the central Arctic Ocean. Furthermore, they underline the significance of meteorological parameters, such as the large-scale wind speed, for maintaining the two-layer boundary-layer cloud structure encountered in the lower atmosphere of the central Arctic.

Ines Bulatovic et al.

Status: open (until 04 Feb 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2022-809', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 Jan 2023 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2022-809', Anonymous Referee #2, 26 Jan 2023 reply

Ines Bulatovic et al.

Data sets

Data from a modelling study of a two-layer boundary-layer cloud system from the Arctic Ocean 2018 expedition Ines Bulatovic, Julien Savre, Caroline Leck, Michael Tjernström and Annica Ekman https://doi.org/10.17043/bulatovic-2022-cloud-structure-1

Ines Bulatovic et al.

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Short summary
We use numerical modelling with detailed cloud microphysics to investigate a low-altitude cloud system consisting of two cloud layers – a type of cloud situation which was commonly observed during the summer of 2018 in the central Arctic (north of 80 degrees N). The model generally reproduces the observed cloud layers and the thermodynamic structure of the lower atmosphere well. The cloud system is maintained unless there are low aerosol number concentrations or high large-scale wind speeds.
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