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Marcus Klingebiel, Heike Konow, and Bjorn Stevens

Abstract

Mass flux is a key quantity in parameterizations of shallow convection. To estimate the shallow convective mass flux as accurately as possible, and to test these parameterizations, observations of this parameter are necessary. In this study, we show how much the mass flux varies and how this can be used to test factors that may be responsible for its variation. Therefore, we analyze long-term Doppler radar and Doppler lidar measurements at the Barbados Cloud Observatory over a time period of 30 months, which results in a mean mass flux profile with a peak value of 0.03 kg m−2 s−1 at an altitude of ~730 m, similar to observations from Ghate et al. at the Azores Islands. By combining Doppler radar and Doppler lidar measurements, we find that the cloud-base mass flux depends mainly on the cloud fraction and refutes an idea based on large-eddy simulations that the velocity scale is in major control of the shallow cumulus mass flux. This indicates that the large-scale conditions might play a more important role than what one would deduce from simulations using prescribed large-scale forcings.

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Fiaz Ahmed

Abstract

Linearized wave solutions on the equatorial beta plane are examined in the presence of a background meridional moisture gradient. Of interest is a slow, eastward-propagating n = 1 mode that is unstable at planetary scales and only exists for a small range of zonal wavenumbers (6). The mode dispersion curve appears as an eastward extension of the westward-propagating equatorial Rossby wave solution. This mode is therefore termed the eastward-propagating equatorial Rossby wave (ERW). The zonal wavenumber-2 ERW horizontal structure consists of a low-level equatorial convergence center flanked by quadrupole off-equatorial gyres, and resembles the horizontal structure of the observed MJO. An analytic, leading-order dispersion relationship for the ERW shows that meridional moisture advection imparts eastward propagation, and that the smallness of a gross moist stability–like parameter contributes to the slow phase speed. The ERW is unstable near planetary scales when low-level easterlies moisten the column. This moistening could come from either zonal moisture advection or surface fluxes or a combination thereof. When westerlies instead moisten the column, the ERW is damped and the westward-propagating long Rossby wave is unstable. The ERW does not exist when the meridional moisture gradient is too weak. A moist static energy budget analysis shows that the ERW scale selection is partly due to finite-time-scale convective adjustment and less effective zonal wind–induced moistening at smaller scales. Similarities in the phase speed, preferred scale, and horizontal structure suggest that the ERW is a beta-plane analog of the MJO.

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Dehai Luo and Wenqi Zhang

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of the meridional and vertical structures of a preexisting upstream storm track (PUST) organized by preexisting synoptic-scale eddies on eddy-driven blocking in a nonlinear multiscale interaction model. In this model, the blocking is assumed, based on observations, to be comprised of barotropic and first baroclinic modes, whereas the PUST consists of barotropic, first baroclinic, and second baroclinic modes. It is found that the nonlinearity (dispersion) of blocking is intensified (weakened) with increasing amplitude of the first baroclinic mode of the blocking itself. The blocking tends to be long lived in this case. The lifetime and strength of blocking are significantly influenced by the amplitude of the first baroclinic mode of blocking for given basic westerly winds (BWWs), whereas its spatial pattern and evolution are also affected by the meridional and vertical structures of the PUST. It is shown that the blocking mainly results from the transient eddy forcing induced by the barotropic and first baroclinic modes of PUST, whereas its second baroclinic mode contributes little to the transient eddy forcing. When the PUST shifts northward, eddy-driven blocking shows an asymmetric dipole structure with a strong anticyclone–weak cyclone in a uniform BWW, which induces northward-intensified westerly jet and storm-track anomalies mainly on the north side of blocking. However, when the PUST has no meridional shift and is mainly located in the upper troposphere, a north–south antisymmetric dipole blocking and an intensified split jet with maximum amplitude in the upper troposphere form easily for vertically varying BWWs without meridional shear.

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David C. Fritts, Thomas S. Lund, Kam Wan, and Han-Li Liu

Abstract

A companion paper by Lund et al. employed a compressible model to describe the evolution of mountain waves arising due to increasing flow with time over the southern Andes, their breaking, secondary gravity waves and acoustic waves arising from these dynamics, and their local responses. This paper describes the mountain wave, secondary gravity wave, and acoustic wave vertical fluxes of horizontal momentum, and the local and large-scale three-dimensional responses to gravity breaking and wave–mean-flow interactions accompanying this event. Mountain wave and secondary gravity wave momentum fluxes and deposition vary strongly in space and time due to variable large-scale winds and spatially localized mountain wave and secondary gravity wave responses. Mountain wave instabilities accompanying breaking induce strong, local, largely zonal forcing. Secondary gravity waves arising from mountain wave breaking also interact strongly with large-scale winds at altitudes above ~80 km. Together, these mountain wave and secondary gravity wave interactions reveal systematic gravity wave–mean-flow interactions having implications for both mean and tidal forcing and feedbacks. Acoustic waves likewise achieve large momentum fluxes, but typically imply significant responses only at much higher altitudes.

Open access
Fan Wu and Kelly Lombardo

Abstract

A mechanism for precipitation enhancement in squall lines moving over mountainous coastal regions is quantified through idealized numerical simulations. Storm intensity and precipitation peak over the sloping terrain as storms descend from an elevated plateau toward the coastline and encounter the marine atmospheric boundary layer (MABL). Storms are most intense as they encounter the deepest MABLs. As the descending storm outflow collides with a moving MABL (sea breeze), surface and low-level air parcels initially accelerate upward, though their ultimate trajectory is governed by the magnitude of the negative nonhydrostatic inertial pressure perturbation behind the cold pool leading edge. For shallow MABLs, the baroclinic gradient across the gust front generates large horizontal vorticity, a low-level negative pressure perturbation, and thus a downward acceleration of air parcels following their initial ascent. A deep MABL reduces the baroclinically generated vorticity, leading to a weaker pressure perturbation and minimal downward acceleration, allowing air to accelerate into a storm’s updraft. Once storms move away from the terrain base and over the full depth of the MABLs, storms over the deepest MABLs decay most rapidly, while those over the shallowest MABLs initially intensify. Though elevated ascent exists above all MABLs, the deepest MABLs substantially reduce the depth of the high-θ e layer above the MABLs and limit instability. This relationship is insensitive to MABL temperature, even though surface-based ascent is present for the less cold MABLs, the MABL thermal deficit is smaller, and convective available potential energy (CAPE) is higher.

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Volkmar Wirth and Christopher Polster

Abstract

The waveguidability of an upper-tropospheric zonal jet quantifies its propensity to duct Rossby waves in the zonal direction. This property has played a central role in previous attempts to explain large wave amplitudes and the subsequent occurrence of extreme weather. In these studies, waveguidability was diagnosed with the help of ray tracing arguments using the zonal average of the observed flow as the relevant background state. Here, it is argued that this method is problematic both conceptually and mathematically. The issue is investigated in the framework of the nondivergent barotropic model. This model allows the straightforward computation of an alternative “zonalized” background state, which is obtained through conservative symmetrization of potential vorticity contours and that is argued to be superior to the zonal average. Using an idealized prototypical flow configuration with large-amplitude eddies, it is shown that the two different choices for the background state yield very different results; in particular, the zonal-mean background state diagnoses a zonal waveguide, while the zonalized background state does not. This result suggests that the existence of a waveguide in the zonal-mean background state is a consequence of, rather than a precondition for, large wave amplitudes, and it would mean that the direction of causality is opposite to the usual argument. The analysis is applied to two heatwave episodes from summer 2003 and 2010, yielding essentially the same result. It is concluded that previous arguments about the role of waveguidability for extreme weather need to be carefully reevaluated to prevent misinterpretation in the future.

Open access
Georgios Deskos, Joseph C. Y. Lee, Caroline Draxl, and Michael A. Sprague

Abstract

We present a review of existing wind–wave coupling models and parameterizations used for large-eddy simulation of the marine atmospheric boundary layer. The models are classified into two main categories: (i) the wave-phase-averaged, sea surface–roughness models and (ii) the wave-phase-resolved models. Both categories are discussed from their implementation, validity, and computational efficiency viewpoints, with emphasis given on their applicability in offshore wind energy problems. In addition to the various models discussed, a review of laboratory-scale and field-measurement databases is presented thereafter. The majority of the presented data have been gathered over many decades of studying air–sea interaction phenomena, with the most recent ones compiled to reflect an offshore wind energy perspective. Both provide valuable data for model validation. We also discuss the modeling knowledge gaps and computational challenges ahead.

Open access
Shawn S. Murdzek, Paul M. Markowski, Yvette P. Richardson, and Matthew R. Kumjian

Abstract

Convective inhibition (CIN) is one of the parameters used by forecasters to determine the inflow layer of a convective storm, but little work has examined the best way to compute CIN. One decision that must be made is whether to lift parcels following a pseudoadiabat (removing hydrometeors as the parcel ascends) or reversible moist adiabat (retaining hydrometeors). To determine which option is best, idealized simulations of ordinary convection are examined using a variety of base states with different reversible CIN values for parcels originating in the lowest 500 m. Parcel trajectories suggest that ascent over the lowest few kilometers, where CIN is typically accumulated, is best conceptualized as a reversible moist adiabatic process instead of a pseudoadiabatic process. Most inflow layers do not contain parcels with substantial reversible CIN, despite these parcels possessing ample convective available potential energy and minimal pseudoadiabatic CIN. If a stronger initiation method is used, or hydrometeor loading is ignored, simulations can ingest more parcels with large amounts of reversible CIN. These results suggest that reversible CIN, not pseudoadiabatic CIN, is the physically relevant way to compute CIN and that forecasters may benefit from examining reversible CIN instead of pseudoadiabatic CIN when determining the inflow layer.

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Alexander Staroselsky, Ranadip Acharya, and Alexander Khain

Abstract

The drop freezing process is described by a phase-field model. Two cases are considered: when the freezing is triggered by central nucleation and when nucleation occurs on the drop surface. Depending on the environmental temperature and drop size, different morphological structures develop. Detailed dendritic growth was simulated at the first stage of drop freezing. Independent of the nucleation location, a decrease in temperature within the range from ~−5° to −25°C led to an increase in the number of dendrites and a decrease in their width and the interdendritic space. At temperatures lower than about −25°C, a planar front developed following surface nucleation, while dendrites formed a granular-like structure with small interdendritic distances following bulk nucleation. An ice shell grew in at the same time (but slower) as dendrites following surface nucleation, while it started forming once the dendrites have reached the drop surface in the case of central nucleation. The formed ice morphology at the first freezing stage predefined the splintering probability. We assume that stresses needed to break the ice shell arose from freezing of the water in the interdendritic spaces. Under this assumption, the number of possible splinters/fragments was proportional to the number of dendrites, and the maximum rate of splintering/fragmentation occurred within a temperature range of about −10° to −20°C, is in agreement with available laboratory and in situ measurements. At temperatures < −25°C, freezing did not lead to the formation of significant stresses, making splintering unlikely. The number of dendrites increased with drop size, causing a corresponding increase in the number of splinters. Examples of morphology that favors drop cracking are presented, and the duration of the freezing stages is evaluated. Sensitivity of the freezing process to the surface fluxes is discussed.

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Rong Fei and Yuqing Wang

Abstract

The first successful simulation of tropical cyclone (TC) intensification was achieved with a three-layer model, often named the Ooyama-type three-layer model, which consists of a slab boundary layer and two shallow water layers above. Later studies showed that the use of a slab boundary layer would produce unrealistic boundary layer wind structure and too strong eyewall updraft at the top of TC boundary layer and thus simulate unrealistically rapid intensification compared to the use of a height-parameterized boundary layer. To fully consider the highly height-dependent boundary layer dynamics in the Ooyama-type three-layer model, this study replaced the slab boundary layer with a multilevel boundary layer in the Ooyama-type model and used it to conduct simulations of TC intensification and also compared the simulation with that from the model version with a slab boundary layer. Results show that compared with the simulation with a slab boundary layer, the use of a multilevel boundary layer can greatly improve simulations of the boundary-layer wind structure and the strength and radial location of eyewall updraft, and thus more realistic intensification rate due to better treatments of the surface layer processes and the nonlinear advection terms in the boundary layer. Sensitivity of the simulated TCs to the model configuration and to both horizontal and vertical mixing lengths, sea surface temperature, the Coriolis parameter, and the initial TC vortex structure are also examined. The results demonstrate that this new model can reproduce various sensitivities comparable to those found in previous studies using fully physics models.

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