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Jan Weinkaemmerer
Ivan Bašták Ďurán
, and
Jürg Schmidli


The vertical heat and moisture exchange in the convective boundary layer over mountainous terrain is investigated using large-eddy simulation. Both turbulent and advective transport mechanisms are evaluated over the simple orography of a quasi-two-dimensional, periodic valley with prescribed surface fluxes. For the analysis, the flow is decomposed into a local turbulent part, a local mean circulation, and a large-scale part. It is found that thermal upslope winds are important for the moisture export from the valley to the mountain tops. Even a relatively shallow orography, possibly unresolved in existing numerical weather prediction models, modifies the domain-averaged moisture and temperature profiles. An analysis of the turbulent kinetic energy and turbulent heat and moisture flux budgets shows that the thermal circulation significantly contributes to the vertical transport. This transport depends on the horizontal heterogeneity of the transported variable. Therefore, the thermal circulation has a stronger impact on the moisture budget and a weaker impact on the temperature budget. If an upper-level wind is present, it interacts with the thermal circulation. This weakens the vertical transport of moisture and thus reduces its export out of the valley. The heat transport is less affected by the upper-level wind because of its weaker dependence on the thermal circulation. These findings were corroborated in a more realistic experiment simulating the full diurnal cycle using radiation forcing and an interactive land surface model.

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Youtong Zheng
Mirjana Sakradzija
Seoung-Soo Lee
, and
Zhanqing Li


This is the Part II of a two-part study that seeks a theoretical understanding of an empirical relationship for shallow cumulus clouds: subcloud updraft velocity covaries linearly with the cloud-base height. This work focuses on continental cumulus clouds that are more strongly forced by surface fluxes and more deviated from equilibrium than those over oceans (Part I). We use a simple analytical model for shallow cumulus that is well tested against a high-resolution (25 m in the horizontal) large-eddy simulation model. Consistent with a conventional idea, we find that surface Bowen ratio is the key variable that regulates the covariability of both parameters: under the same solar insolation, a drier surface allows for stronger buoyancy flux, triggering stronger convection that deepens the subcloud layer. We find that the slope of the Bowen-ratio-regulated relationship between the two parameters (defined as λ) is dependent on both the local time and the stability of the lower free atmosphere. The value of λ decreases with time exponentially from sunrise to early afternoon and linearly from early afternoon to sunset. The value of λ is larger in a more stable atmosphere. In addition, continental λ in the early afternoon more than doubles the oceanic λ. Validation of the theoretical results against ground observations over the Southern Great Plains shows a reasonable agreement. Physical mechanisms underlying the findings are explained from the perspective of different time scales at which updrafts and cloud-base height respond to a surface flux forcing.

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Linda Schlemmer
Cathy Hohenegger


This study investigates how precipitation-driven cold pools aid the formation of wider clouds that are essential for a transition from shallow to deep convection. In connection with a temperature depression and a depletion of moisture inside developing cold pools, an accumulation of moisture in moist patches around the cold pools is observed. Convective clouds are formed on top of these moist patches. Larger moist patches form with time supporting more and larger clouds. Moreover, enhanced vertical lifting along the leading edges of the gravity current triggered by the cold pool is found. The interplay of moisture aggregation and lifting eventually promotes the formation of wider clouds that are less affected by entrainment and become deeper. These mechanisms are corroborated in a series of cloud-resolving model simulations representing different atmospheric environments. A positive feedback is observed in that, in an atmosphere in which cloud and rain formation is facilitated, stronger downdrafts will form. These stronger downdrafts lead to a stronger modification of the moisture field, which in turn favors further cloud development. This effect is not only observed in the transition phase but also active in prolonging the peak time of precipitation in the later stages of the diurnal cycle. These findings are used to propose a simple way for incorporating the effect of cold pools on cloud sizes and thereby entrainment rate into parameterization schemes for convection. Comparison of this parameterization to the cloud-resolving modeling output gives promising results.

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