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Jerry Y. Harrington, G. Alexander Sokolowsky, and Hugh Morrison

Abstract

Numerical cloud models require estimates of the vapor growth rate for ice crystals. Current bulk and bin microphysical parameterizations generally assume that vapor growth is diffusion limited, though some parameterizations include the influence of surface attachment kinetics through a constant deposition coefficient. A parameterization for variable deposition coefficients is provided herein. The parameterization is an explicit function of the ambient ice supersaturation and temperature, and an implicit function of crystal dimensions and pressure. The parameterization is valid for variable surface types including growth by dislocations and growth by step nucleation. Deposition coefficients are predicted for the two primary growth directions of crystals, allowing for the evolution of the primary habits. Comparisons with benchmark calculations of instantaneous mass growth indicate that the parameterization is accurate to within a relative error of 1%. Parcel model simulations using Lagrangian microphysics as a benchmark indicate that the bulk parameterization captures the evolution of mass mixing ratio and fall speed with typical relative errors of less than 10%, whereas the average axis lengths can have errors of up to 20%. The bin model produces greater accuracy with relative errors often less that 10%. The deposition coefficient parameterization can be used in any bulk and bin scheme, with low error, if an equivalent volume spherical radius is provided.

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Nicholas A. Davis and Thomas Birner

Abstract

The poleward expansion of the Hadley cells is one of the most robust modeled responses to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. There are many proposed mechanisms for expansion, and most are consistent with modeled changes in thermodynamics, dynamics, and clouds. The adjustment of the eddies and the mean flow to greenhouse gas forcings, and to one another, complicates any effort toward a deeper understanding. Here we modify the Gray Radiation AND Moist Aquaplanet (GRANDMA) model to uncouple the eddy and mean flow responses to forcings. When eddy forcings are held constant, the purely axisymmetric response of the Hadley cell to a greenhouse gas-like forcing is an intensification and poleward tilting of the cell with height in response to an axisymmetric increase in angular momentum in the subtropics. The angular momentum increase drastically alters the circulation response compared to axisymmetric theories, which by nature neglect this adjustment. Model simulations and an eddy diffusivity framework demonstrate that the axisymmetric increase in subtropical angular momentum – the direct manifestation of the radiative-convective equilibrium temperature response – drives a poleward shift of the eddy stresses which leads to Hadley cell expansion. Prescribing the eddy response to the greenhouse gas-like forcing shows that eddies damp, rather than drive, changes in angular momentum, moist static energy transport, and momentum transport. Expansion is not driven by changes in baroclinic instability, as would otherwise be diagnosed from the fully-coupled simulation. These modeling results caution any assessment of mechanisms for circulation change within the fully-coupled wave-mean flow system.

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Jerry Y. Harrington and Gwenore F. Pokrifka

Abstract

Measurements show that after facets form on frozen water droplets, those facets grow laterally across the crystal surface leading to an increase in volume and surface area with only a small increase in maximum dimension. This lateral growth of the facets is distinctly different from that predicted by the capacitance model and by the theory of faceted growth. In this paper we develop two approximate theories of lateral growth, one that is empirical and one that uses explicit growth mechanisms. We show that both theories can reproduce the overall features of lateral growth on a frozen, supercooled water droplet. Both theories predict that the area-average deposition coefficient should decrease in time as the particle grows, and this result may help explain the divergence of some prior measurements of the deposition coefficient. The theories may also explain the approximately constant mass growth rates that have recently been found in some measurements. We also show that the empirical theory can reproduce the lateral growth that occurs when a previously sublimated crystal is regrown, as may happen during the recycling of crystals in cold clouds.

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Joshua J. Alland, Brian H. Tang, Kristen L. Corbosiero, and George H. Bryan

Abstract

This study examines how midlevel dry air and vertical wind shear (VWS) can modulate tropical cyclone (TC) development via downdraft ventilation. A suite of experiments was conducted with different combinations of initial midlevel moisture and VWS. A strong, positive, linear relationship exists between the low-level vertical mass flux in the inner core and TC intensity. The linear increase in vertical mass flux with intensity is not due to an increased strength of upward motions but, instead, is due to an increased areal extent of strong upward motions (w > 0.5 m s−1). This relationship suggests physical processes that could influence the vertical mass flux, such as downdraft ventilation, influence the intensity of a TC. The azimuthal asymmetry and strength of downdraft ventilation is associated with the vertical tilt of the vortex: downdraft ventilation is located cyclonically downstream from the vertical tilt direction and its strength is associated with the magnitude of the vertical tilt. Importantly, equivalent potential temperature of parcels associated with downdraft ventilation trajectories quickly recovers via surface fluxes in the subcloud layer, but the areal extent of strong upward motions is reduced. Altogether, the modulating effects of downdraft ventilation on TC development are the downward transport of low–equivalent potential temperature, negative-buoyancy air left of shear and into the upshear semicircle, as well as low-level radial outflow upshear, which aid in reducing the areal extent of strong upward motions, thereby reducing the vertical mass flux in the inner core, and stunting TC development.

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Joshua J. Alland, Brian H. Tang, Kristen L. Corbosiero, and George H. Bryan

Abstract

This study demonstrates how midlevel dry air and vertical wind shear (VWS) can modulate tropical cyclone (TC) development via radial ventilation. A suite of experiments was conducted with different combinations of initial midlevel moisture and VWS environments. Two radial ventilation structures are documented. The first structure is positioned in a similar region as rainband activity and downdraft ventilation (documented in Part I) between heights of 0 and 3 km. Parcels associated with this first structure transport low–equivalent potential temperature air inward and downward left of shear and upshear to suppress convection. The second structure is associated with the vertical tilt of the vortex and storm-relative flow between heights of 5 and 9 km. Parcels associated with this second structure transport low–relative humidity air inward upshear and right of shear to suppress convection. Altogether, the modulating effects of radial ventilation on TC development are the inward transport of low–equivalent potential temperature air, as well as low-level radial outflow upshear, which aid in reducing the areal extent of strong upward motions, thereby reducing the vertical mass flux in the inner core, and stunting TC development.

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Hugh Morrison, John M. Peters, and Steven C. Sherwood

Abstract

The spreading rates of convective thermals are linked to their net entrainment, and previous literature has suggested differences in spreading rates between moist and dry thermals. In this study, growth rates of idealized numerically simulated axisymmetric dry and moist convective thermals are directly compared. In an environment with dry-neutral stratification, the increase of thermal radius with height dR/dz is a larger by a factor of 1.7 for dry thermals relative to moist thermals. The fractional change in thermal volume ε is also greater for dry thermals within a distance of ~4 radii from the initial thermal height. Values of dR/dz are nearly constant with height for both moist and dry thermals consistent with classical theory based on dimensional analysis. The simulations are also consistent with theory relating impulse, circulation, and spreading rate for dry thermals proposed in previous papers and extended here to moist thermals, predicting they will spread less than dry thermals. Tests adding heating to dry thermals, either spread uniformly across the thermal volume or concentrated in the inner core, indicate that dR/dz and ε are smaller for moist thermals because latent heating is confined mostly to their cores. Additional axisymmetric moist simulations using modified lapse rates and large-eddy simulations support this analysis. Overall, these results indicate that slow spreading rates are a fundamental feature of moist thermals caused by latent heating that alters the spatial distribution of buoyancy within them relative to dry thermals.

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Gan Zhang, Levi G. Silvers, Ming Zhao, and Thomas R. Knutson

Abstract

Earlier studies have proposed many semiempirical relations between climate and tropical cyclone (TC) activity. To explore these relations, this study conducts idealized aquaplanet experiments using both symmetric and asymmetric sea surface temperature (SST) forcings. With zonally symmetric SST forcings that have a maximum at 10°N, reducing meridional SST gradients around an Earth-like reference state leads to a weakening and southward displacement of the intertropical convergence zone. With nearly flat meridional gradients, warm-hemisphere TC numbers increase by nearly 100 times due particularly to elevated high-latitude TC activity. Reduced meridional SST gradients contribute to a poleward expansion of the tropics, which is associated with a poleward migration of the latitudes where TCs form or reach their lifetime maximum intensity. However, these changes cannot be simply attributed to the poleward expansion of Hadley circulation. Introducing zonally asymmetric SST forcings tends to decrease the global TC number. Regional SST warming—prescribed with or without SST cooling at other longitudes—affects local TC activity but does not necessarily increase TC genesis. While regional warming generally suppresses TC activity in remote regions with relatively cold SSTs, one experiment shows a surprisingly large increase of TC genesis. This increase of TC genesis over relatively cold SSTs is related to local tropospheric cooling that reduces static stability near 15°N and vertical wind shear around 25°N. Modeling results are discussed with scaling analyses and have implications for the application of the “convective quasi-equilibrium and weak temperature gradient” framework.

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Ángel F. Adames

Abstract

A linear two-layer model is used to elucidate the role of prognostic moisture on quasigeostrophic (QG) motions in the presence of a mean thermal wind (u¯T). Solutions to the basic equations reveal two instabilities that can explain the growth of moist QG systems. The well-documented baroclinic instability is characterized by growth at the synoptic scale (horizontal scale of ~1000 km) and systems that grow from this instability tilt against the shear. Moisture–vortex instability—an instability that occurs when moisture and lower-tropospheric vorticity exhibit an in-phase component—exists only when moisture is prognostic. The instability is also strongest at the synoptic scale, but systems that grow from it exhibit a vertically stacked structure. When moisture is prognostic and u¯T is easterly, baroclinic instability exhibits a pronounced weakening while moisture vortex instability is amplified. The strengthening of moisture–vortex instability at the expense of baroclinic instability is due to the baroclinic (u¯T) component of the lower-tropospheric flow. In westward-propagating systems, lower-tropospheric westerlies associated with an easterly u¯T advect anomalous moisture and the associated convection toward the low-level vortex. The advected convection causes the vertical structure of the wave to shift away from one that favors baroclinic instability to one that favors moisture–vortex instability. On the other hand, a westerly u¯T reinforces the phasing between moisture and vorticity necessary for baroclinic instability to occur. Based on these results, it is hypothesized that moisture–vortex instability is an important instability in humid regions of easterly u¯T such as the South Asian and West African monsoons.

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Claudia Christine Stephan

Abstract

Satellite images frequently show mesoscale arc-shaped cloud lines with a spacing of several tens of kilometers. These clouds form in a shallow mixed boundary layer in locations where the near-surface horizontal wind speed exceeds ~7 m s−1. Unlike other mesoscale cloud line phenomena, such as horizontal convective rolls, these cloud lines do not align with the wind direction but form at large oblique angles to the near-surface wind. A particularly distinct event of this pattern developed on 31 January 2020 over the western tropical Atlantic Ocean. Radiosonde soundings are available for this time and location, allowing a detailed analysis. By comparing observations with theoretical predictions that are based on Jeffreys’s drag-instability mechanism, it is shown that drag-instability waves may contribute to the formation of this cloud pattern. The theory is formulated in only two dimensions and predicts that wavelike horizontal wind perturbations of this wavelength can grow, because they modulate the surface friction in a way that reinforces the perturbations. The theoretical horizontal wavelengths of 40–80 km agree with the observations. Streamlines from the ERA5 reanalysis show that the directional change of the near-surface wind is likely to contribute to the arc shape but that a radial propagation of an initial instability is also required to explain the strong curvature. Moreover, ERA5 winds suggest that other known explanations for the formation of cloud lines are unlikely to apply in the case studied here.

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Amanda C. Maycock, Christopher J. Smith, Alexandru Rap, and Owain Rutherford

Abstract

The Suite of Community Radiative Transfer Codes Based on Edwards and Slingo (SOCRATES) offline radiative transfer code is used to investigate the magnitude and structure of the instantaneous radiative forcing kernels (IRFKs) for five major greenhouse gases (GHGs; CO2, CH4, N2O, CFC-11, and O3). All gases produce IRFKs that peak in the tropical upper troposphere. In addition to differences in spectroscopic intensities and the position of absorption features relative to the peak of the Planck function for Earth’s temperature, the variation in current background concentration of gases substantially affects the IRFK magnitudes. When the background concentration of CO2 is reduced from parts per million to parts per trillion levels, the peak magnitude of the IRFK increases by a factor of 642. When all gases are set to parts per trillion concentrations in the troposphere, the peak IRFK magnitudes are 1.0, 3.0, 3.1, 58, and 75 W m−2 ppmv−1 (100 hPa)−1 for CH4, CO2, N2O, O3, and CFC-11, respectively. The altitude of the IRFK maximum also differs, with the maximum for CFC-11 and water vapor occurring above 100 hPa whereas the other gases peak near 150–200 hPa. Overlap with water vapor absorption decreases the magnitude of the IRFKs for all of the GHGs, particularly in the lower-to-middle troposphere, but it does not strongly affect the peak IRFK altitude. Cloud radiative effects reduce the magnitude of the IRFK for CO2 by around 10%–20% in the upper troposphere. The use of IRFKs to estimate instantaneous radiative forcing is found to be accurate for small-amplitude perturbations but becomes inaccurate for large-amplitude changes (e.g., a doubling) for gases with a higher atmospheric optical depth.

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