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Convective and Turbulent Motions in Nonprecipitating Cu. Part III: Characteristics of Turbulence Motions

Mark PinskyaDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

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Alexander KhainaDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

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Abstract

Velocity field in a nonprecipitating Cu under BOMEX conditions, simulated by SAM with 10-m resolution and spectral bin microphysics is separated into the convective part and the turbulent part, using a wavelet filtering. In Part II of the study properties of convective motions of this Cu were investigated. Here in Part III of the study, the parameters of cloud turbulence are calculated in the cloud updraft zone at different stages of cloud development. The main points of this study are (i) application of a fine-scale LES model of a single convective cloud allowed a direct estimation of turbulence parameters using the resolved flow in the cloud and (ii) the separation of the resolved flow into the turbulence flow and the nonturbulence flow allowed us to estimate different turbulent parameters with sufficient statistical accuracy. We calculated height and time dependences of the main turbulent parameters such as turbulence kinetic energy (TKE), spectra of TKE, dissipation rate, and the turbulent coefficient. It was found that the main source of turbulence in the cloud is buoyancy whose contribution is described by the buoyancy production term (BPT). The shear production term (SPT) increases with height and reaches its maximum near cloud top, and so does BPT. In agreement with the behavior of BPT and SPT, turbulence in the lower cloud part (below the inversion level) is weak and hardly affects the processes of mixing and entrainment. The fact that BPT is larger than SPT determines many properties of cloud turbulence. For instance, the turbulence is nonisotropic, so the vertical component of TKE is substantially larger than the horizontal components. Another consequence of the fact that BPT is larger than STP manifests itself in the finding that the turbulence spectrum largely obeys the −11/5 Bolgiano–Obukhov scaling. The classical Kolmogorov −5/3 scaling dominates for the low part of a cloud largely at the dissolving stage of cloud evolution. Using the spectra obtained we evaluated an “effective” dissipation rate which increases with height from nearly zero at cloud base up to 20 cm2 s−3 near cloud top. The coefficient of turbulent diffusion was found to increase with height and ranged from 5 m2 s−1 near cloud base to 25 m2 s−1 near cloud top. The possible role of turbulence in the process of lateral entrainment and mixing is discussed.

Significance Statement

1) This study investigates the turbulent structure of Cu using a 10-m-resolution LES model with spectral bin microphysics, 2) the main source of turbulence is buoyancy, 3) turbulence in cumulus clouds (Cu) is nonisotropic, 4) turbulence reaches maximum intensity near cloud top, 5) turbulence spectrum obeys largely the −11/5 Bolgiano–Obukhov scaling, and 6) the main turbulent parameters are evaluated.

© 2023 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Alexander Khain, alexander.khain@mail.huji.ac.il

Abstract

Velocity field in a nonprecipitating Cu under BOMEX conditions, simulated by SAM with 10-m resolution and spectral bin microphysics is separated into the convective part and the turbulent part, using a wavelet filtering. In Part II of the study properties of convective motions of this Cu were investigated. Here in Part III of the study, the parameters of cloud turbulence are calculated in the cloud updraft zone at different stages of cloud development. The main points of this study are (i) application of a fine-scale LES model of a single convective cloud allowed a direct estimation of turbulence parameters using the resolved flow in the cloud and (ii) the separation of the resolved flow into the turbulence flow and the nonturbulence flow allowed us to estimate different turbulent parameters with sufficient statistical accuracy. We calculated height and time dependences of the main turbulent parameters such as turbulence kinetic energy (TKE), spectra of TKE, dissipation rate, and the turbulent coefficient. It was found that the main source of turbulence in the cloud is buoyancy whose contribution is described by the buoyancy production term (BPT). The shear production term (SPT) increases with height and reaches its maximum near cloud top, and so does BPT. In agreement with the behavior of BPT and SPT, turbulence in the lower cloud part (below the inversion level) is weak and hardly affects the processes of mixing and entrainment. The fact that BPT is larger than SPT determines many properties of cloud turbulence. For instance, the turbulence is nonisotropic, so the vertical component of TKE is substantially larger than the horizontal components. Another consequence of the fact that BPT is larger than STP manifests itself in the finding that the turbulence spectrum largely obeys the −11/5 Bolgiano–Obukhov scaling. The classical Kolmogorov −5/3 scaling dominates for the low part of a cloud largely at the dissolving stage of cloud evolution. Using the spectra obtained we evaluated an “effective” dissipation rate which increases with height from nearly zero at cloud base up to 20 cm2 s−3 near cloud top. The coefficient of turbulent diffusion was found to increase with height and ranged from 5 m2 s−1 near cloud base to 25 m2 s−1 near cloud top. The possible role of turbulence in the process of lateral entrainment and mixing is discussed.

Significance Statement

1) This study investigates the turbulent structure of Cu using a 10-m-resolution LES model with spectral bin microphysics, 2) the main source of turbulence is buoyancy, 3) turbulence in cumulus clouds (Cu) is nonisotropic, 4) turbulence reaches maximum intensity near cloud top, 5) turbulence spectrum obeys largely the −11/5 Bolgiano–Obukhov scaling, and 6) the main turbulent parameters are evaluated.

© 2023 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Alexander Khain, alexander.khain@mail.huji.ac.il
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