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Brian E. Mapes

Abstract

The problem of closure in cumulus parameterization requires an understanding of the sensitivities of convective cloud systems to their large-scale setting. As a step toward such an understanding, this study probes some sensitivities of a simulated ensemble of convective clouds in a two-dimensional cloud-resolving model (CRM). The ensemble is initially in statistical equilibrium with a steady imposed background forcing (cooling and moistening). Large-scale stimuli are imposed as horizontally uniform perturbations nudged into the model fields over 10 min, and the rainfall response of the model clouds is monitored.

In order to reduce a major source of artificial insensitivity in the CRM, a simple parameterization scheme is devised to account for heating-induced large-scale (i.e., domain averaged) vertical motions that would develop in nature but are forbidden by the periodic boundary conditions. The effects of this large-scale vertical motion are parameterized as advective tendency terms that are applied as a uniform forcing throughout the domain, just like the background forcing. This parameterized advection is assumed to lag rainfall (used as a proxy for heating) by a specified time scale. The time scale determines (via a gravity wave space–time conversion factor) the size of the large-scale region represented by the periodic CRM domain, which can be of arbitrary size or dimensionality.

The sensitivity of rain rate to deep cooling and moistening, representing an upward displacement by a large-scale wave of first baroclinic mode structure, is positive. Near linearity is found for ±1 K perturbations, and the sensitivity is about equally divided between temperature and moisture effects. For a second baroclinic mode (vertical dipole) displacement, the sign of the perturbation in the lower troposphere dominates the convective response. In this dipole case, the initial sensitivity is very large, but quantitative results are distorted by the oversimplified large-scale dynamics parameterization, which only allows for deep baroclinic mode responses. Imposition of moderate wind shear (10 m s−1 over the troposphere) has no significant impact on rain rate.

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Brian E. Mapes

Abstract

A beat source with a vertical profile like that of observed tropical mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) is shown to cause, through inviscid gravity wave dynamics, upward displacement at low levels in a mesoscale region surrounding the heating. Typical values are ∼10%–30% area contraction at the surface everywhere within 270 km of the heating 6 h after it starts. As a result, conditions near an existing MCS (but beyond the area of MCS outflow) become more favorable for the development of additional convection. This theory predicts that cloud clusters should be gregarious. Infrared satellite imagery confirms that almost half of the cold cloudiness observed in a month over the oceanic warm pool region was contributed by just 14 objectively defined multiday “supercluters”.

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Brian E. Mapes

Abstract

A toy model of large-scale deep convection variations is constructed around a radiative–convective equilibrium climate, with an observed mean sounding as its thermodynamic basic state.

Vertical structure is truncated at two modes, excited by convective (one-signed) and stratiform (two-signed) heating processes in tropical deep convection. Separate treatments of deep and shallow convection are justified by observations that deep convection is more variable. Deep convection intensity is assumed to be modulated by convective available potential energy (CAPE), while occurrence frequency is modulated by the ratio of convective inhibition (CIN) to “triggering energy” K, a scalar representing the intensity of subgrid-scale fluctuations. Deep convective downdrafts cool and dry the boundary layer but also increase K. Variations of K make the relationship between convection and thermodynamic variables (CAPE, CIN, θ e ) nonunique and amplify the deep convective response to temperature waves of small (∼1°C) amplitude.

For a parameter set in which CAPE variations control convection, moist convective damping destroys all variability. When CIN/K variations have dominant importance (the “inhibition-controlled” regime), a mechanism termed “stratiform instability” generates large-scale waves. This mechanism involves lower-tropospheric cooling by stratiform precipitation, which preferentially occurs where the already cool lower troposphere favors deep convection, via smaller CIN. Stratiform instability has two subregimes, based on the relative importance of the two opposite effects of downdrafts: When boundary layer θ e reduction (a local negative feedback) is stronger, small-scale waves with frequency based on the boundary layer recovery time are preferred. When the K-generation effect (positive feedback) is stronger, very large scales (low wavenumbers of the domain) develop. A mixture of these scales occurs for parameter choices based on observations. Model waves resemble observed waves, with a phase speed ∼20 m s−1 (near the dry wave speed of the second internal mode), and a “cold boomerang” vertical temperature structure.

Although K exhibits “quasi-equilibrium” with other convection variables (correlations > 0.99), replacing the prognostic K equation with diagnostic equations based on these relationships can put the model into wildly different regimes, if small time lags indicative of causality are distorted. The response of model convection to climatological spatial anomalies of θ e (proxy for SST) and K (proxy for orographic and coastal triggering) is considered. Higher SST tends broadly to favor convection under either CAPE-controlled or inhibition-controlled regimes, but there are dynamical embellishments in the inhibition-controlled regime. The Kelvin wave seems to be the preferred structure when the model is run on a uniform equatorial β plane.

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Brian E. Mapes
and
Jialin Lin

Abstract

A simple new analysis method for large single-Doppler radar datasets is presented, using data from several tropical field experiments. A cylindrical grid is chosen, to respect both the geophysical importance of altitude and the radar importance of range and azimuth. Horizontal and temporal fine structure are sacrificed, by compiling data as hourly histograms in 12 × 24 × 36 spatial grid cells of 15° azimuth × 8 km horizontal range × 500 m height, respectively. Mean Doppler radial velocity in each region is automatically unfolded (dealiased) using a simple histogram method, and fed into a velocity–azimuth display (VAD) analysis. The result is a set of hourly horizontal wind and wind divergence profiles, with associated error estimates, for circles of different radii centered on the radar.

These divergence profiles contain useful heating profile information in many weather situations, not just occasional cases of uniform widespread rainfall. Consistency of independent estimates for concentric circles, continuity from hour to hour, and good mass balance indicate high-quality results in one 48-h example sequence shown, from the East Pacific Investigations of Climate (EPIC 2001) experiment. Linear regression of divergence profiles versus reflectivity-estimated surface rain rates is used to illustrate the dominant systematic pattern: convective rain with low-level wind convergence evolves into stratiform rain with middle-level convergence, on a characteristic time scale of several hours. Absolute estimates of moisture convergence per unit of ZR calculated rainfall vary strongly among experiments, in ways that appear to indicate reflectivity calibration errors. This indicates that Doppler data may offer a useful and unique bulk constraint on rainfall estimation by radar.

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Richard H. Johnson
and
Brian E. Mapes

Abstract

No Abstract available.

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Brian E. Mapes
and
Xiaoqing Wu

Abstract

Domain-average momentum budgets are examined in several multiday cloud-resolving model simulations of deep tropical convection in realistic shears. The convective eddy momentum tendency F, neglected in many global circulation models, looks broadly similar in two- and three-dimensional simulations. It has a large component in quadrature with the mean wind profile, tending to cause momentum profile features to descend. This component opposes, and exceeds in magnitude, the corresponding large-scale vertical advective tendency, which would tend to make features ascend in convecting regions. The portion of F in phase with the mean wind is isolated by vertically integrating F · u, yielding a kinetic energy tendency that is overwhelmingly negative. The variation of this energy damping with shear flow kinetic energy and convection intensity (measured by rain rate) gives a “cumulus friction” coefficient around −40% to −80% per centimeter of rain in 3D runs. Large scatter reflects the effects of varying convective organization. Two-dimensional runs overestimate this friction coefficient for the υ (out of plane) wind component and underestimate it for the u (in plane) component. Another 2D artifact is that 460-hPa-wavelength shear is essentially undamped, consistent with the descending jets reported by Held et al. in a free-running 2D cloud model.

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Stefan N. Tulich
and
Brian E. Mapes

Abstract

Multiscale convective wave disturbances with structures broadly resembling observed tropical waves are found to emerge spontaneously in a nonrotating, two-dimensional cloud model forced by uniform cooling. To articulate the dynamics of these waves, model outputs are objectively analyzed in a discrete truncated space consisting of three cloud types (shallow convective, deep convective, and stratiform) and three dynamical vertical wavelength bands. Model experiments confirm that diabatic processes in deep convective and stratiform regions are essential to the formation of multiscale convective wave patterns. Specifically, upper-level heating (together with low-level cooling) serves to preferentially excite discrete horizontally propagating wave packets with roughly a full-wavelength structure in troposphere and “dry” phase speeds cn in the range 16–18 m s−1. These wave packets enhance the triggering of new deep convective cloud systems, via low-level destabilization. The new convection in turn causes additional heating over cooling, through delayed development of high-based deep convective cells with persistent stratiform anvils. This delayed forcing leads to an intensification and then widening of the low-level cold phases of wave packets as they move through convecting regions. Additional widening occurs when slower-moving (∼8 m s−1) “gust front” wave packets excited by cooling just above the boundary layer trigger additional deep convection in the vicinity of earlier convection. Shallow convection, meanwhile, provides positive forcing that reduces convective wave speeds and destroys relatively small-amplitude-sized waves. Experiments with prescribed modal wind damping establish the critical role of short vertical wavelengths in setting the equivalent depth of the waves. However, damping of deep vertical wavelengths prevents the clustering of mesoscale convective wave disturbances into larger-scale envelopes, so these circulations are important as well.

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Jia-Lin Lin
and
Brian E. Mapes

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between precipitation and radiative heating on intraseasonal time scales in the Tropics using collocated top-of-atmosphere (TOA) and surface radiative flux measurements from special field program data [Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program and Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE) experiments] as well as long-term TOA flux data [from Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) and Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) satellite data]. All the different datasets consistently show that the atmosphere-integrated radiative heating is nearly in phase with the precipitation and enhances the net condensation heating by about 10%–15%. The dominant contribution to this radiative warming during wet periods is the reduction of TOA outgoing longwave radiation (OLR), primarily by clouds but with a small contribution by water vapor. This radiative heating is reduced slightly by enhanced surface downwelling longwave radiation, attributable to low cloud bases and reduced atmospheric shortwave absorption attributable to shadowing by high cloud tops.

The intraseasonal budget of TOA radiation, reflecting heating of the whole ocean plus atmosphere column, is characterized by shortwave cloud forcing anomalies that are substantially larger than the longwave cloud forcing anomaly. This imbalance is in contrast with the near cancellation between these two terms at the seasonal time scale.

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Marja Bister
and
Brian E. Mapes

Abstract

A cloud-resolving model is used to study the effects of a vertical temperature dipole on convective cloud development. Such dipole anomalies, with a warm-above-cool structure in the troposphere, are known to be forced by mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) in the Tropics. The experiments involve letting convection develop in perturbed initial soundings with open lateral boundary conditions. Convection is driven solely by surface fluxes. In the control run, a field of deep convection ensues. With a strong dipole anomaly that is warm in the upper troposphere, no clouds ascend beyond the middle troposphere. In this case, cumulus congestus clouds strongly moisten the midtroposphere with relative humidity increases by up to 24% by the end of the 6‐h simulation. With a half-strength anomaly, a mixed population results: mainly middle-topped congestus clouds, but with some intermittent deep cells. The partitioning between cloud types is somewhat sensitive to model resolution, with a change from 1- to 0.5-km grid spacing resulting in relatively more congestus clouds and fewer deep cells.

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Stefan N. Tulich
and
Brian E. Mapes

Abstract

A three-dimensional cloud-resolving model, maintained in a statistically steady convecting state by tropics-like forcing, is subjected to sudden (10 min) stimuli consisting of horizontally homogeneous temperature and/or moisture sources with various profiles. Ensembles of simulations are used to increase the statistical robustness of the results and to assess the deterministic nature of the model response for domain sizes near contemporary global model resolution. The response to middle- and upper-tropospheric perturbations is predominantly local in the vertical: convection damps the imposed stimulus over a few hours. Low-level perturbations are similarly damped, but also produce a vertically nonlocal response: enhancement or suppression of new deep convective clouds extending above the perturbed level. Experiments show that the “effective inhibition layer” for deep convection is about 4 km deep, far deeper than traditional convective inhibition defined for undilute lifted parcels. Both the local and nonlocal responses are remarkably linear but can be highly stochastic, especially if deep convection is only intermittently present (small domains, weak forcing). Quantitatively, temperature-versus-moisture perturbations in a ratio corresponding to adiabatic vertical displacements produce responses of roughly equal magnitude. However, moisture perturbations seem to provoke the nonlocal (upward spreading) type of response more effectively. This nonlocal part of the response is also more effective when background forcing intensity is weak. Only at very high intensity does the response approach the limits of purely local damping and pure determinism that would be most convenient for theory and parameterization.

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