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Cirrus Clouds. Part I: A Cirrus Cloud Model

David O'C. StarrDepartment of Atmospheric Science, State University of New York at Albany, Albany, NY 12222

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Stephen K. CoxDepartment of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523

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Abstract

A two-dimensional (x, z), time-dependent, numerical cloud model is developed for the purpose of investigating the role of various physical processes involved in the maintenance of cirriform clouds. In addition to accounting for dynamic and thermodynamic processes including phase changes of water, effects due to microphysical composition and radiative processes are also explicitly incorporated into the model. Diagnostic parameterizations for the local radiative properties of cloudy volumes and the gravity induced relative fall speed of the contained ice water are presented. Results of a simulation of a thin cirrostratus cloud are given. Features of the simulated cloud structure are quite realistic. Quantitative agreement is found between the simulated ice water contents and vertical motions and comparable observations. It is shown that radiative effect may be very significant in the maintenance of cirrus. The effects of the gravity-induced relative fall speed of ice crystals are found to be of critical importance in the evolution of the cloud layer.

Abstract

A two-dimensional (x, z), time-dependent, numerical cloud model is developed for the purpose of investigating the role of various physical processes involved in the maintenance of cirriform clouds. In addition to accounting for dynamic and thermodynamic processes including phase changes of water, effects due to microphysical composition and radiative processes are also explicitly incorporated into the model. Diagnostic parameterizations for the local radiative properties of cloudy volumes and the gravity induced relative fall speed of the contained ice water are presented. Results of a simulation of a thin cirrostratus cloud are given. Features of the simulated cloud structure are quite realistic. Quantitative agreement is found between the simulated ice water contents and vertical motions and comparable observations. It is shown that radiative effect may be very significant in the maintenance of cirrus. The effects of the gravity-induced relative fall speed of ice crystals are found to be of critical importance in the evolution of the cloud layer.

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