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  • Author or Editor: Peter N. Blossey x
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Peter N. Blossey
,
Christopher S. Bretherton
,
Jasmine Cetrone
, and
Marat Kharoutdinov

Abstract

Three-dimensional cloud-resolving model simulations of a mesoscale region around Kwajalein Island during the Kwajalein Experiment (KWAJEX) are performed. Using observed winds along with surface and large-scale thermodynamic forcings, the model tracks the observed mean thermodynamic soundings without thermodynamic nudging during 52-day simulations spanning the whole experiment time period, 24 July–14 September 1999. Detailed comparisons of the results with cloud and precipitation observations, including radar reflectivities from the Kwajalein ground validation radar and International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) cloud amounts and radiative fluxes, reveal the biases and sensitivities of the model’s simulated clouds. The amount and optical depth of high cloud are underpredicted by the model during less rainy periods, leading to excessive outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) and insufficient albedo. The simulated radar reflectivities tend to be excessive, especially in the upper troposphere, suggesting that simulated high clouds are precipitating large hydrometeors too efficiently. Occasionally, large-scale advective forcing errors also seem to contribute to upper-level cloud and relative humidity biases. An extensive suite of sensitivity studies to different microphysical and radiative parameterizations is performed, with surprisingly little impact on the results in most cases.

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Christopher S. Bretherton
,
Peter N. Blossey
, and
Marat Khairoutdinov

Abstract

The spatial organization of deep moist convection in radiative–convective equilibrium over a constant sea surface temperature is studied. A 100-day simulation is performed with a three-dimensional cloud-resolving model over a (576 km)2 domain with no ambient rotation and no mean wind. The convection self-aggregates within 10 days into quasi-stationary mesoscale patches of dry, subsiding and moist, rainy air columns. The patches ultimately merge into a single intensely convecting moist patch surrounded by a broad region of very dry subsiding air.

The self-aggregation is analyzed as an instability of a horizontally homogeneous convecting atmosphere driven by convection–water vapor–radiation feedbacks that systematically dry the drier air columns and moisten the moister air columns. Column-integrated heat, water, and moist static energy budgets over (72 km)2 horizontal blocks show that this instability is primarily initiated by the reduced radiative cooling of air columns in which there is extensive anvil cirrus, augmented by enhanced surface latent and sensible heat fluxes under convectively active regions due to storm-induced gustiness. Mesoscale circulations intensify the later stages of self-aggregation by fluxing moist static energy from the dry to the moist regions. A simple mathematical model of the initial phase of self-aggregation is proposed based on the simulations.

In accordance with this model, the self-aggregation can be suppressed by horizontally homogenizing the radiative cooling or surface fluxes. Lower-tropospheric wind shear leads to slightly slower and less pronounced self-aggregation into bands aligned along the shear vector. Self-aggregation is sensitive to the ice microphysical parameterization, which affects the location and extent of cirrus clouds and their radiative forcing. Self-aggregation is also sensitive to ambient Coriolis parameter f, and can induce spontaneous tropical cyclogenesis for large f. Inclusion of an interactive mixed-layer ocean slows but does not prevent self-aggregation.

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Dale R. Durran
,
Matthew O. G. Hills
, and
Peter N. Blossey

Abstract

Leaky trapped mountain lee waves are investigated by examining the structure of individual linear modes in multilayer atmospheres. When the static stability and cross-mountain wind speed are constant in the topmost unbounded layer, modes that decay exponentially downstream also grow exponentially with height. This growth with height occurs because packets containing relatively large-amplitude waves follow ray paths through the stratosphere, placing them above packets entering the stratosphere farther downstream that contain relatively low-amplitude waves. Nevertheless, if the trapped wave train is generated by a compact source, all waves disappear above some line parallel to the group velocity that passes just above the source region.

The rate of downstream decay due to leakage into the stratosphere is strongly dependent on the atmospheric structure. Downstream dissipation is often significant under realistic atmospheric conditions, which typically include elevated inversions and strong upper-tropospheric winds. On the other hand, idealized profiles with constant Scorer parameters throughout each of two tropospheric layers can exhibit a wide range of behaviors when capped by a third stratospheric layer with typical real-world static stability. Assuming the Scorer parameter in the stratosphere is a little larger than the minimum value necessary to allow a particular mode to propagate vertically, the rate of downstream decay is more sensitive to changes in the height of the tropopause than to further increases in the stability of the stratosphere. Downstream decay is minimized when the tropopause is high and the horizontal wavelength is short.

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Matthew O. G. Hills
,
Dale R. Durran
, and
Peter N. Blossey

Abstract

Decaying trapped waves exert a drag on the large-scale flow. The two most studied mechanisms for such decay are boundary layer dissipation and leakage into the stratosphere. If the waves dissipate in the boundary layer, they exert a drag near the surface, whereas, if they leak into the stratosphere, the drag is exerted at the level where the waves dissipate aloft. Although each of these decay mechanisms has been studied in isolation, their relative importance has not been previously assessed.

Here, numerical simulations are conducted showing that the relative strength of these two mechanisms depends on the details of the environment supporting the waves. During actual trapped-wave events, the environment often includes elevated inversions and strong winds aloft. Such conditions tend to favor leakage into the stratosphere, although boundary layer dissipation becomes nonnegligible in cases with shorter resonant wavelengths and higher tropopause heights. In contrast, idealized two-layer profiles with constant wind speeds and high static stability beneath a less stable upper troposphere support lee waves that are much more susceptible to boundary dissipation and relatively unaffected by the presence of a stratosphere. One reason that trapped waves in the two-layer case do not leak much energy upward is that the resonant wavelength is greatly reduced in the presence of surface friction. This reduction in wavelength is well predicted by the linear inviscid equations if the basic-state profile is modified a posteriori to include the shallow ground-based shear layer generated by surface friction.

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Johnathan J. Metz
,
Dale R. Durran
, and
Peter N. Blossey

Abstract

Simulations of the weather over the South Island of New Zealand on 28 July 2014 reveal unusual wave activity in the stratosphere. A series of short-wavelength perturbations resembling trapped lee waves were located downstream of the topography, but these waves were in the stratosphere, and their crests were oriented north–south, in contrast to both the northeast–southwest orientation of the spine of the Southern Alps and the crests of trapped waves present in the lower troposphere. Vertical cross sections through these waves show a nodal structure consistent with that of a higher-order trapped-wave mode. Eigenmode solutions to the vertical structure equation for two-dimensional, linear, Boussinesq waves were obtained for a horizontally homogeneous sounding representative of the 28 July case. These solutions include higher-order modes having large amplitude in the stratosphere that are supported by just the zonal wind component. Two of these higher-order modes correspond to trapped waves that develop in an idealized numerical simulation of the 28 July 2014 case. These higher-order modes are trapped by very strong westerly winds in the midstratosphere and are triggered by north–south-oriented features in the subrange-scale topography. In contrast, the stratospheric cross-mountain wind component is too weak to trap similar high-order modes with crest-parallel orientation.

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