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A Study of Microphysical Mechanisms for Correlation Patterns between Droplet Radius and Optical Thickness of Warm Clouds with a Spectral Bin Microphysics Cloud Model

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
  • 2 Center for Climate System Research, University of Tokyo, Chiba, Japan
  • 3 Research and Information Center, Tokai University, Tokyo, Japan
  • 4 Institute of Earth Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
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Abstract

This study investigates the correlation patterns between cloud droplet effective radius (CDR) and cloud optical thickness (COT) of warm clouds with a nonhydrostatic spectral bin microphysics cloud model. Numerical experiments are performed with the model to simulate low-level warm clouds. The results show a positive and negative correlation pattern between CDR and COT for nondrizzling and drizzling stages of cloud development, respectively, consistent with findings of previous observational studies. Only a positive correlation is simulated when the collection process is switched off in the experiment, whereas both the positive and negative correlations are reproduced in the simulation with collection as well as condensation processes. The positive and negative correlations can also be explained in terms of an evolution pattern of the size distribution function due to condensation and collection processes, respectively.

Sensitivity experiments are also performed to examine how the CDR–COT correlation patterns are influenced by dynamical and aerosol conditions. The dynamical effect tends to change the amplitude of the CDR–COT plot mainly through changing the liquid water path, whereas the aerosol amount significantly modifies the correlation pattern between CDR and COT mainly through changing the cloud particle number concentration. These results suggest that the satellite-observed relationships between CDR and COT can be interpreted as being formed through microphysical particle growth processes under various dynamical and aerosol conditions in the real atmosphere.

Corresponding author address: Kentaroh Suzuki, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1371. Email: kenta@atmos.colostate.edu

Abstract

This study investigates the correlation patterns between cloud droplet effective radius (CDR) and cloud optical thickness (COT) of warm clouds with a nonhydrostatic spectral bin microphysics cloud model. Numerical experiments are performed with the model to simulate low-level warm clouds. The results show a positive and negative correlation pattern between CDR and COT for nondrizzling and drizzling stages of cloud development, respectively, consistent with findings of previous observational studies. Only a positive correlation is simulated when the collection process is switched off in the experiment, whereas both the positive and negative correlations are reproduced in the simulation with collection as well as condensation processes. The positive and negative correlations can also be explained in terms of an evolution pattern of the size distribution function due to condensation and collection processes, respectively.

Sensitivity experiments are also performed to examine how the CDR–COT correlation patterns are influenced by dynamical and aerosol conditions. The dynamical effect tends to change the amplitude of the CDR–COT plot mainly through changing the liquid water path, whereas the aerosol amount significantly modifies the correlation pattern between CDR and COT mainly through changing the cloud particle number concentration. These results suggest that the satellite-observed relationships between CDR and COT can be interpreted as being formed through microphysical particle growth processes under various dynamical and aerosol conditions in the real atmosphere.

Corresponding author address: Kentaroh Suzuki, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1371. Email: kenta@atmos.colostate.edu

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