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Parameterization of Trade-Cumulus Cloud Amounts

Bruce A. AlbrechtDepartment of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802

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Abstract

A scheme for parameterizing the fractional cloud coverage of trade cumuli is developed which gives the cloud cover in terms of the cloud-layer relative humidity and the liquid water content of the convective elements. This parameterization gives good agreement with cloud observations obtained during the Atlantic Trade-Wind Experiment, 1969. The scheme was incorporated into a simple one-dimensional model of the thermodynamic structure of the trade-wind boundary layer in order to evaluate the dependence of cloud cover on sea surface temperature, surface wind speed, and radiative processes. For steady-state conditions over relatively cold water (∼16°C), the cloud cover decreases as sea surface temperature increases while over warmer water (∼24°C) there is a slight increase in cloud cover as the sea surface temperature increases. When used in a downstream mode, the model structure obtained by moving from cold to warm water can be used to evaluate the effect of advection. Over cold water, the advective case results in a cloud cover which is greater than the corresponding steady-state cloud cover, while over warm water the cloud cover is less than the corresponding steady-state cloud cover. The model predicted cloud cover is positively correlated with wind speed and the net radiative cooling of the boundary layer.

Abstract

A scheme for parameterizing the fractional cloud coverage of trade cumuli is developed which gives the cloud cover in terms of the cloud-layer relative humidity and the liquid water content of the convective elements. This parameterization gives good agreement with cloud observations obtained during the Atlantic Trade-Wind Experiment, 1969. The scheme was incorporated into a simple one-dimensional model of the thermodynamic structure of the trade-wind boundary layer in order to evaluate the dependence of cloud cover on sea surface temperature, surface wind speed, and radiative processes. For steady-state conditions over relatively cold water (∼16°C), the cloud cover decreases as sea surface temperature increases while over warmer water (∼24°C) there is a slight increase in cloud cover as the sea surface temperature increases. When used in a downstream mode, the model structure obtained by moving from cold to warm water can be used to evaluate the effect of advection. Over cold water, the advective case results in a cloud cover which is greater than the corresponding steady-state cloud cover, while over warm water the cloud cover is less than the corresponding steady-state cloud cover. The model predicted cloud cover is positively correlated with wind speed and the net radiative cooling of the boundary layer.

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