Roles of Drizzle in a One-Dimensional Third-Order Turbulence Closure Model of the Nocturnal Stratus-Topped Marine Boundary Layer

Shouping Wang Institute for Global Change Research and Education, NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama

Search for other papers by Shouping Wang in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
and
Qing Wang Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

Search for other papers by Qing Wang in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Abstract

This study focuses on the effects of drizzle in a one-dimensional third-order turbulence closure model of the nocturnal stratus-topped marine boundary layer. When the simulated drizzle rate is relatively small (maximum ∼0.6 mm day−1), steady-state solutions are obtained. The boundary layer stabilizes essentially because drizzle causes evaporative cooling of the subcloud layer. This stabilization considerably reduces the buoyancy flux and turbulence kinetic energy below the stratus cloud. Thus, drizzle tends to decouple the cloud from the subcloud layer in the model, as suggested by many observational studies. In addition, the evaporation of drizzle in the subcloud layer creates small scattered clouds, which are likely to represent cumulus clouds, below the solid stratus cloud in the model. The sensitivity experiments show that these scattered clouds help maintain a coupled boundary layer.

When the drizzle rate is relatively large (maximum ∼0.9 mm day−1), the response of the model becomes transient with bursts in turbulent fluxes. This phenomenon is related to the formation of the scattered cloud layer below the solid stratus cloud. It appears that the model is inadequate to represent the heat and moisture transport by strong updrafts covering a small fractional area in cumulus convection.

Abstract

This study focuses on the effects of drizzle in a one-dimensional third-order turbulence closure model of the nocturnal stratus-topped marine boundary layer. When the simulated drizzle rate is relatively small (maximum ∼0.6 mm day−1), steady-state solutions are obtained. The boundary layer stabilizes essentially because drizzle causes evaporative cooling of the subcloud layer. This stabilization considerably reduces the buoyancy flux and turbulence kinetic energy below the stratus cloud. Thus, drizzle tends to decouple the cloud from the subcloud layer in the model, as suggested by many observational studies. In addition, the evaporation of drizzle in the subcloud layer creates small scattered clouds, which are likely to represent cumulus clouds, below the solid stratus cloud in the model. The sensitivity experiments show that these scattered clouds help maintain a coupled boundary layer.

When the drizzle rate is relatively large (maximum ∼0.9 mm day−1), the response of the model becomes transient with bursts in turbulent fluxes. This phenomenon is related to the formation of the scattered cloud layer below the solid stratus cloud. It appears that the model is inadequate to represent the heat and moisture transport by strong updrafts covering a small fractional area in cumulus convection.

Save