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Lihui Ji
and
Ana P. Barros

Abstract

A 3D numerical model was built to serve as a virtual microphysics laboratory (VML) to investigate rainfall microphysical processes. One key goal for the VML is to elucidate the physical basis of warm precipitation processes toward improving existing parameterizations beyond the constraints of past physical experiments. This manuscript presents results from VML simulations of classical tower experiments of raindrop collisional collection and breakup. The simulations capture large raindrop oscillations in shape and velocity in both horizontal and vertical planes and reveal that drop instability increases with diameter due to the weakening of the surface tension compared with the body force. A detailed evaluation against reference experimental datasets of binary collisions over a wide range of drop sizes shows that the VML reproduces collision outcomes well including coalescence, and disk, sheet, and filament breakups. Furthermore, the VML simulations captured spontaneous breakup, and secondary coalescence and breakup. The breakup type, fragment number, and size distribution are analyzed in the context of collision kinetic energy, diameter ratio, and relative position, with a view to capture the dynamic evolution of the vertical microstructure of rainfall in models and to interpret remote sensing measurements.

Significance Statement

Presently, uncertainty in precipitation estimation and prediction remains one of the grand challenges in water cycle studies. This work presents a detailed 3D simulator to characterize the evolution of drop size distributions (DSDs), without the space and functional constraints of laboratory experiments. The virtual microphysics laboratory (VML) is applied to replicate classical tower experiments from which parameterizations of precipitation processes used presently in weather and climate models and remote sensing algorithms were derived. The results presented demonstrate that the VML is a robust tool to capture DSD dynamics at the scale of individual raindrops (precipitation microphysics). VML will be used to characterize DSD dynamics across scales for environmental conditions and weather regimes for which no measurements are available.

Open access
Yunshuai Zhang
,
Cunbo Han
,
Yaoming Ma
,
Shizuo Fu
,
Hongchao Zuo
, and
Qian Huang

Abstract

Applying 1D surface heterogeneity and observed atmospheric vertical profiles as initial conditions, two sets of large-eddy simulation experiments provided insight into the influence of lake size and soil moisture (SM) on the development of lake breezes and moist convection over land beside the lake. When the lake diameter increased from 20 km to 50 and 70 km, the maximum precipitation increased by 71.4% and 1.29 times, respectively. There are two reasons for larger precipitation over land in large-lake simulations: 1) Stronger and broader updrafts were found near the lake-breeze front (LBF); 2) the air at 2–4 km was moister, probably because more water vapor below 2 km was advected by the lake breezes and transported upward through turbulent exchange. Moreover, when the lake diameter increased from 20 km to more than 50 km, the deep moist convection (DMC) occurred 20 min earlier. This may be related to broader shallow convective cloud and larger vertical velocity of cloud-initiating parcels in large-lake simulations. Shallow moist convection transitioned to DMC earlier with broader clouds under moderate and high soil moisture conditions. Notably, stronger and broader updrafts near the LBFs, along with the advection of moisture induced by the lake breezes, caused the shallow moist convection to reach its peak 1 h earlier in the driest soil moisture case. However, smaller evapotranspiration could not provide sufficient moisture for the development of DMC. Our simulation results show that lake-breeze circulations are essential for the development of moist convections in the lake region.

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Tsung-Yung Lee
and
Allison A. Wing

Abstract

Recent modeling studies have suggested a potentially important role of cloud-radiative interactions in accelerating tropical cyclone (TC) development, but there has been only limited investigation of this in observations. Here, we investigate this by performing radiative transfer calculations based on cloud property retrievals from the CloudSat Tropical Cyclone (CSTC) dataset. We examine the radius–height structure of radiative heating anomalies, compute the resulting radiatively driven circulations, and use the moist static energy variance budget to compute radiative feedbacks. We find that inner-core midlevel ice water content and anomalous specific humidity increase with TC intensification rate, resulting in enhanced inner-core deep-layer longwave warming anomalies and shortwave cooling anomalies in rapidly intensifying TCs. This leads to a stronger radiatively driven deep in-up-and-out overturning circulation and inner-core radiative feedback in rapidly intensifying TCs. The longwave-driven circulation provides radially inward momentum fluxes and upward moisture fluxes, which benefit TC development, while the shortwave-driven circulation suppresses TC development. The longwave anomalies, which dominate the inner-core positive radiative feedback, are mainly generated from cloud-radiative interactions, with ice particles dominating the deep-layer circulation and liquid droplets and water vapor contributing to the shallow circulation. Moreover, the variability in ice water content, as opposed to the variability in liquid water content and the effective radii of ice particles and liquid droplets, dominates the uncertainty in TC-radiative interaction. These results provide observational evidence for the importance of cloud-radiative interactions in TC development and suggest that the amount and spatial structure of ice water content are critical for determining the strength of this interaction.

Significance Statement

The limited investigation of tropical cyclone (TC)-radiative interaction in observations impedes our understanding of TC development. This study aims to quantitatively show the spatial variation in radiation in TCs and their effect on TC development by using a set of satellite-based observations. We relate TC-radiative interaction to TC intensification and emphasize the inner-core features. Moreover, we quantitatively demonstrate the relative contribution from clouds, liquid droplets, ice particles, and water vapor to TC-radiative interaction as well as the source of the variation in radiative properties. These results provide an additional observational foundation for the importance of cloud-radiative interactions in TC development and support a quantitative validation for numerical modeling.

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Jiahua Li
,
Xiaohua Xu
, and
Jia Luo

Abstract

In the present study, the tropical tropopause inversion layer (TIL) Kelvin waves are extracted from the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) radio occultation (RO) temperature data of multiple missions from January 2007 to December 2020. We focus on the variations of TIL Kelvin waves in two longitude regions, the Maritime Continent (MC; 90°–150°E) and the Pacific Ocean (PO; 170°–230°E). The results show that over both regions, ENSO leads to the opposite variations of TIL Kelvin wave temperature amplitude during different ENSO phases. Specifically, during La Niña, the strong (weak) deep convection over MC (PO) leads to strengthened (weakened) static stability. With enhanced easterly (westerly) winds and strengthened (weakened) static stability, the TIL Kelvin wave temperature amplitudes are stronger (weaker) over MC (PO). The opposite phenomenon occurs during El Niño. The zonal-mean zonal winds affect TIL Kelvin wave temperature amplitudes by two mechanisms. First, the prevalence of easterlies (westerlies) in the upper troposphere affects the upward propagation of Kelvin waves, resulting in stronger (weaker) TIL Kelvin wave temperature amplitudes over MC (PO). Second, the TIL Kelvin wave temperature amplitude peaks about 2 months before the zero-wind line of the descending westerly QBO phase occurs, due to dissipation on the critical line. Additionally, the rapid increase of zonal-mean static stability significantly affects the annual variation of TIL Kelvin wave temperature amplitudes. They both reach maxima during DJF and minima during JJA, which should be related to the annual cycles of temperature and ozone mixing ratio in the TIL.

Significance Statement

Recent studies indicate that the Kelvin wave temperature amplitudes in the tropical tropopause inversion layer (TIL) exhibit distinct characteristics compared with those in other height levels, while the modulation mechanisms of the TIL Kelvin waves need further investigation. The present study aims to study the differences in the variabilities and the modulation factors of TIL Kelvin waves over two longitude regions. Our findings suggest that the different responses of background conditions during ENSO phases influence the spatiotemporal distribution of the TIL Kelvin waves. Besides, the zonal winds and the static stability significantly affect the temporal variations of TIL Kelvin waves. Our work fills the research gap of TIL Kelvin waves and contributes to understanding the dynamics of tropical tropopause variations.

Restricted access
Paul E. Roundy
and
Crizzia Mielle De Castro

Abstract

The Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) propagates eastward as a disturbance of mostly zonal wind and precipitation along the equator. The initial diagnosis of the MJO spectral peak at 40–50-day periods suggests a reduction in amplitude associated with slower MJO events that occur at lower frequencies. If events on the low-frequency side of the spectral peak continued to grow in amplitude with reduced phase speed, the spectrum would just be red. Wavelet regression analysis of slow and fast eastward-propagating MJO signals during northern winter assesses how associated moisture and wind patterns could explain why slow MJO events achieve lower amplitude in tracers of moist convection. Results suggest that slow MJO events favor a ridge anomaly over Europe, which drives cool dry air equatorward over Africa and Arabia as the active convection develops over the Indian Ocean. We hypothesize that dry air tracing back to this source, together with a longer duration of the events, leads to associated convection diminishing along the equator and instead concentrating in the Rossby gyres off the equator.

Significance Statement

The Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) dominates the subseasonal variability of the tropical atmosphere. This work suggests that it favors maximum convective activity in the 40–50-day period range because lower-frequency MJO signals tend to import more cool dry air from the extratropics and along the equator, thereby weakening the slower events.

Open access
Cunbo Han
,
Corinna Hoose
, and
Viktoria Dürlich

Abstract

Multiple mechanisms have been proposed to explain secondary ice production (SIP), and SIP has been recognized to play a vital role in forming cloud ice crystals. However, most weather and climate models do not consider SIP in their cloud microphysical schemes. In this study, in addition to the default rime splintering (RS) process, two SIP processes, namely, shattering/fragmentation during freezing of supercooled rain/drizzle drops (DS) and breakup upon ice–ice collisions (BR), were implemented into a two-moment cloud microphysics scheme. Besides, two different parameterization schemes for BR were introduced. A series of sensitivity experiments were performed to investigate how SIP impacts cloud microphysics and cloud phase distributions in warm-based deep convective clouds developed in the central part of Europe. Simulation results revealed that cloud microphysical properties were significantly influenced by the SIP processes. Ice crystal number concentrations (ICNCs) increased up to more than 20 times and surface precipitation was reduced by up to 20% with the consideration of SIP processes. Interestingly, BR was found to dominate SIP, and the BR process rate was larger than the RS and DS process rates by four and three orders of magnitude, respectively. Liquid pixel number fractions inside clouds and at the cloud top decreased when implementing all three SIP processes, but the decrease depended on the BR scheme. Peak values of ice enhancement factors (IEFs) in the simulated deep convective clouds were 102–104 and located at −24°C with the consideration of all three SIP processes, while the temperature dependency of IEF was sensitive to the BR scheme. However, if only RS or RS and DS processes were included, the IEFs were comparable, with peak values of about 6, located at −7°C. Moreover, switching off the cascade effect led to a remarkable reduction in ICNCs and ice crystal mass mixing ratios.

Significance Statement

The cloud phase is found to have a significant impact on cloud evolution, radiative properties, and precipitation formation. However, the simulation of the cloud phase is a big challenge for cloud research because multiple processes are not well described or missing in numerical models. In this study, we implemented two secondary ice production (SIP) processes, namely, shattering/fragmentation during the freezing of supercooled rain/drizzle drops and breakup upon ice–ice collisions, which are missing in most numerical models. Sensitivity experiments were conducted to investigate how SIP impacts cloud microphysics and cloud phase in deep convective clouds. We found that SIP significantly impacts in-cloud and cloud-top phase distribution. We also identified that the collisional breakup of ice particles is the dominant SIP process in the simulated deep convective clouds.

Open access
Weixuan Xu
,
Baylor Fox-Kemper
,
Jung-Eun Lee
,
J. B. Marston
, and
Ziyan Zhu

Abstract

The rotation of Earth breaks time-reversal and reflection symmetries in an opposite sense north and south of the equator, leading to a topological origin for certain atmospheric and oceanic equatorial waves. Away from the equator, the rotating shallow-water and stably stratified primitive equations exhibit Poincaré inertia–gravity waves that have nontrivial topology as evidenced by their strict superinertial time scale and a phase singularity in frequency–wavevector space. This nontrivial topology then predicts, via the principle of bulk-interface correspondence, the existence of two equatorial waves along the equatorial interface, the Kelvin and Yanai waves. To directly test the nontrivial topology of Poincaré-gravity waves in observations, we examine ERA5 data and study cross correlations between the wind velocity and geopotential height of the midlatitude stratosphere at the 50 hPa height. We find the predicted vortex and antivortex in the relative phase of the geopotential height and velocity at the high frequencies of the waves. By contrast, lower-frequency planetary waves are found to have trivial topology also as expected from theory. These results demonstrate a new way to understand stratospheric waves and provide a new qualitative tool to investigate waves in other components of the climate system.

Open access
M. Z. Sheikh
,
K. Gustavsson
,
E. Lévêque
,
B. Mehlig
,
A. Pumir
, and
A. Naso

Abstract

In mixed-phase clouds, graupel forms by riming, a process whereby ice crystals and supercooled water droplets settling through a turbulent flow collide and aggregate. We consider here the early stage of the collision process of small ice crystals with water droplets and determine numerically the geometric collision kernel in turbulent flows (therefore neglecting all interactions between the particles and assuming a collision efficiency equal to unity), over a range of energy dissipation rate 1–250 cm2 s−3 relevant to cloud microphysics. We take into account the effect of small, but nonzero fluid inertia, which is essential since it favors a biased orientation of the crystals with their broad side down. Since water droplets and ice crystals have different masses and shapes, they generally settle with different velocities. Turbulence does not play any significant role on the collision kernel when the difference between the settling velocities of the two sets of particles is larger than a few millimeters per second. The situation is completely different when the settling speeds of droplets and crystals are comparable, in which case turbulence is the main cause of collisions. Our results are compatible with those of recent experiments according to which turbulence does not clearly increase the growth rate of tethered graupel in a flow transporting water droplets.

Restricted access
Scott T. Salesky
,
Kendra Gillis
,
Jesse Anderson
,
Ian Helman
,
Will Cantrell
, and
Raymond A. Shaw

Abstract

The subgrid-scale (SGS) scalar variance represents the “unmixedness” of the unresolved small scales in large-eddy simulations (LES) of turbulent flows. Supersaturation variance can play an important role in the activation, growth, and evaporation of cloud droplets in a turbulent environment, and therefore efforts are being made to include SGS supersaturation fluctuations in microphysics models. We present results from a priori tests of SGS scalar variance models using data collected in turbulent Rayleigh–Bénard convection in the Michigan Tech Pi chamber for Rayleigh numbers Ra ∼ 108–109. Data from an array of 10 thermistors were spatially filtered and used to calculate the true SGS scalar variance, a scale-similarity model, and a gradient model for dimensionless filter widths of h/Δ = 25, 14.3, and 10 (where h is the height of the chamber and Δ is the spatial filter width). The gradient model was found to have fairly low correlations (ρ ∼ 0.2), with the most probable values departing significantly from the one-to-one line in joint probability density functions (JPDFs). However, the scale-similarity model was found to have good behavior in JPDFs and was highly correlated (ρ ∼ 0.8) with the true SGS variance. Results of the a priori tests were robust across the parameter space considered, with little dependence on Ra and h/Δ. The similarity model, which only requires an additional test filtering operation, is therefore a promising approach for modeling the SGS scalar variance in LES of cloud turbulence and other related flows.

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Marc Federer
,
Lukas Papritz
,
Michael Sprenger
,
Christian M. Grams
, and
Marta Wenta

Abstract

Extratropical cyclones convert available potential energy (APE) to kinetic energy. However, our current understanding of APE conversion on synoptic scales is limited, as the well-established Lorenz APE framework is only applicable in a global, volume-integrated sense. Here, we employ a recently developed local APE framework to investigate APE and its tendencies in a highly idealized, dispersive baroclinic wave, which leads to the formation of a primary and a downstream cyclone. By utilizing a Lagrangian approach, we demonstrate that locally the downstream cyclone not only consumes APE but also generates it. Initially, APE is transported from both poleward and equatorward reservoirs into the baroclinic zone, where it is then consumed by the vertical displacement of air parcels associated with the developing cyclone. To a lesser extent, APE is also created within the cyclone when air parcels overshoot their reference state; i.e., air colder than its reference state is lifted and air warmer than its reference state is lowered. The volume integral of the APE tendency is dominated by slow vertical displacements of large air masses, whereas the dry intrusion (DI) and warm conveyor belt (WCB) of the cyclone are responsible for the largest local APE tendencies. Diabatic effects within the DI and WCB contribute to the generation of APE in regions where it is consumed adiabatically, thereby enhancing baroclinic conversion in situ. Our findings provide a comprehensive and mechanistic understanding of the local APE tendency on synoptic scales within an idealized setting and complement existing frameworks explaining the energetics of cyclone intensification.

Restricted access