The bulk properties of tropical cloud clusters, such as the vertical mass flux, the excess temperature, and moisture and the liquid water content of the clouds, are determined from a combination of 1) the observed large-scale heat and moisture budgets over an area covering the cloud cluster, and 2) a model of a cumulus ensemble which exchanges mass, heat, water vapor and liquid water with the environment through entrainment and detrainment. The method also provides an understanding of how the environmental air is heated and moistened by the cumulus convection. An estimate of the average cloud cluster properties and the heat and moisture balance of the environment, obtained from 1956 Marshall Islands data, is presented.

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