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Holger Siebert and Andreas Muschinski

Abstract

The performance of a new type of sonic anemometer–thermometer (called a sonic), the Solent-Research HS, manufactured by Gill Instruments, Lymington, United Kingdom, was investigated. Measurements of the three wind-velocity components u, υ, w, and temperature T were taken in the laboratory under quiet conditions and in the field at wind speeds of about 10 m s−1. The power spectra of u, υ, w, and T measured in the laboratory follow a −5/3 power law at moderate frequencies. At frequencies higher than u/l (here u is the mean wind speed along a given path of length l), there is a roll-off in all spectra, an expected effect caused by the spatial averaging along the finite pathlength. Over the bandwidth of f s/2 = 50 Hz, the standard deviations due to uncorrelated noise amount to 0.02 m s−1 for u, υ, and w and to 0.02 K for T. In the field, the spectra of u, υ, and w show a clean −5/3 power law, except for a flattening at frequencies larger than 30 Hz. The ratio of the spectra of the transverse and longitudinal velocity components was close to 4/3, the ratio predicted by classical theory for isotropic turbulence. The T spectra measured in the field were severely contaminated at frequencies larger than about 5 Hz. Closer inspection of the T time series revealed amplitude-modulated artifacts. These artifacts were presumed to be the result of oscillations of the sonic's pathlengths induced by oscillations of the tower, which was exposed to a turbulently changing wind. The artifacts were reproduced in the laboratory by controlled blows on the sonic's attachment. The mechanical oscillations, which the authors refer to as the tuning-fork effect, were measured with a strain gauge attached to the sonic. The tuning-fork effect was observed simultaneously and independently in the strain-gauge measurements and as artifacts in the temperature time series.

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Holger Siebert and Raymond A. Shaw

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On time scales that are long compared to the phase relaxation time, a quasi-steady supersaturation s qs is expected to exist in clouds. On shorter time scales, however, turbulent fluctuations of temperature and water vapor concentration should generate fluctuations in supersaturation. The variability of temperature, water vapor, and supersaturation has been measured in situ with submeter resolution in warm, continental, shallow cumulus clouds. Several cumuli with horizontal extents of order 100 m were sampled during their first appearance and development to depths of ~100 m in a growing boundary layer. Fluctuations of the saturation ratio are observed to be approximately normally distributed with standard deviations on the order of 1%. This variability is almost one order of magnitude larger than s qs calculated using simultaneous measurements of the vertical velocity component and the droplet size distribution. It is argued that, depending on the ratio of the phase relaxation and the turbulent mixing time, substantial fluctuations in the supersaturation field can exist on small spatial scales, centered on s qs for the mean state. The observations also suggest that, on larger scales, fluctuations of the supersaturation field are damped by cloud droplet growth. Droplets with diameters of up to 20 μm were observed in the shallow cumulus clouds, whereas the adiabatic diameter was less than 10 μm. Such large droplets may be explained by a few droplets experiencing the highest observed supersaturations for a certain time. Consequences for aerosol activation and droplet size dispersion in a highly fluctuating supersaturation field are briefly discussed.

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Holger Siebert, Katrin Lehmann, and Manfred Wendisch

Abstract

Tethered balloon–borne measurements with a resolution in the order of 10 cm in a cloudy boundary layer are presented. Two examples sampled under different conditions concerning the clouds' stage of life are discussed. The hypothesis tested here is that basic ideas of classical turbulence theory in boundary layer clouds are valid even to the decimeter scale. Power spectral densities S( f ) of air temperature, liquid water content, and wind velocity components show an inertial subrange behavior down to ≈20 cm. The mean energy dissipation rates are ∼10−3 m2 s−3 for both datasets. Estimated Taylor Reynolds numbers (Reλ) are ∼104, which indicates the turbulence is fully developed. The ratios between longitudinal and transversal S( f ) converge to a value close to 4/3, which is predicted by classical turbulence theory for local isotropic conditions. Probability density functions (PDFs) of wind velocity increments Δu are derived. The PDFs show significant deviations from a Gaussian distribution with longer tails typical for an intermittent flow. Local energy dissipation rates ετ are derived from subsequences with a duration of τ = 1 s. With a mean horizontal wind velocity of 8 m s−1, τ corresponds to a spatial scale of 8 m. The PDFs of ετ can be well approximated with a lognormal distribution that agrees with classical theory. Maximum values of ετ ≈ 10−1 m2 s−3 are found in the analyzed clouds. The consequences of this wide range of ετ values for particle–turbulence interaction are discussed.

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Katrin Lehmann, Holger Siebert, and Raymond A. Shaw

Abstract

The helicopter-borne instrument payload known as the Airborne Cloud Turbulence Observation System (ACTOS) was used to study the entrainment and mixing processes in shallow warm cumulus clouds. The characteristics of the mixing process are determined by the Damköhler number, defined as the ratio of the mixing and a thermodynamic reaction time scale. The definition of the reaction time scale is refined by investigating the relationship between the droplet evaporation time and the phase relaxation time. Following arguments of classical turbulence theory, it is concluded that the description of the mixing process through a single Damköhler number is not sufficient and instead the concept of a transition length scale is introduced. The transition length scale separates the inertial subrange into a range of length scales for which mixing between ambient dry and cloudy air is inhomogeneous, and a range for which the mixing is homogeneous. The new concept is tested on the ACTOS dataset. The effect of entrained subsaturated air on the droplet number size distribution is analyzed using mixing diagrams correlating droplet number concentration and droplet size. The data suggest that homogeneous mixing is more likely to occur in the vicinity of the cloud core, whereas inhomogeneous mixing dominates in more diluted cloud regions. Paluch diagrams are used to support this hypothesis. The observations suggest that homogeneous mixing is favored when the transition length scale exceeds approximately 10 cm. Evidence was found that suggests that under certain conditions mixing can lead to enhanced droplet growth such that the largest droplets are found in the most diluted cloud regions.

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Holger Siebert, Katrin Lehmann, and Raymond A. Shaw

Abstract

The use of a hot-wire anemometer for high-resolution turbulence measurements in a two-phase flow (e.g., atmospheric clouds) is discussed. Experiments in a small wind tunnel (diameter of 0.2 and 2 m in length) with a mean flow velocity in the range between 5 and 16 m s−1 are performed. In the wind tunnel a spray with a liquid water content of 0.5 and 2.5 g m−3 is generated. After applying a simple despiking algorithm, power spectral analysis shows the same results as spectra observed without spray under similar flow conditions. The flattening of the spectrum at higher frequencies due to impacting droplets could be reduced significantly. The time of the signal response of the hot wire to impacting droplets is theoretically estimated and compared with observations. Estimating the fraction of time during which the velocity signal is influenced by droplet spikes, it turns out that the product of liquid water content and mean flow velocity should be minimized. This implies that for turbulence measurements in atmospheric clouds, a slowly flying platform such as a balloon or helicopter is the appropriate instrumental carrier. Examples of hot-wire anemometer measurements with the helicopter-borne Airborne Cloud Turbulence Observation System (ACTOS) are presented.

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Jeannine Katzwinkel, Holger Siebert, Thijs Heus, and Raymond A. Shaw

Abstract

High-resolution measurements of the turbulent, thermodynamic, and microphysical structure of the edges of trade wind cumuli have been performed with the Airborne Cloud Turbulence Observation System. Lateral entrainment of subsaturated air into the cloud region leads to an evaporative cooling effect. The negatively buoyant air partly enhances the compensating downdraft, forming a subsiding shell at cloud edge. Based on the presented observations, the subsiding shell is divided into a turbulent and humid inner shell adjacent to the cloud interior and a nonbuoyant, nonturbulent outer shell. In the trade wind region, continuous development of shallow cumuli over the day allows for an analysis of the properties of both shells as a function of different cloud evolution stages. The shallow cumuli are divided into actively growing, decelerated, and dissolving based on cloud properties. As the cumuli evolve from actively growing to dissolving, the subsaturated environmental air is mixed deeper and deeper into the cloud region and the subsiding shell grows at the expense of the cloud. This measured evolution of the subsiding shell compares favorably with the predictions of a direct numerical simulation of an idealized subsiding shell. The thickness of the measured outer shell decreases with the evolution of the cumuli while the intensity of the downdraft is nearly constant.

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Holger Siebert, Harald Franke, Katrin Lehmann, Rolf Maser, Ewe Wei Saw, Dieter Schell, Raymond A. Shaw, and Manfred Wendisch

Helicopter-based measurements provide an opportunity for probing the finescale dynamics and microphysics of clouds simultaneously in space and time. Due to the low true air speed compared with research aircraft, a helicopter allows for measurements with much higher spatial resolution. To circumvent the influence of the helicopter downwash the autonomous measurement payload Airborne Cloud Turbulence Observation System (ACTOS) is carried as an external cargo 140 m below the helicopter. ACTOS allows for collocated measurements of the dynamical and cloud microphysical parameters with a spatial resolution of better than 10 cm.

The interaction between turbulence and cloud microphysical processes is demonstrated using the following two cloud cases from recent helicopter measurements: i) a cumulus cloud with a low degree of turbulence and without strong vertical dynamics, and, in contrast, ii) an actively growing cloud with increased turbulence and stronger updrafts. The turbulence and microphysical measurements suggest that entrainment at the tops of these two clouds occurs by inhomogeneous and homogeneous mixing, respectively.

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Holger Siebert, Kai-Erik Szodry, Ulrike Egerer, Birgit Wehner, Silvia Henning, Karine Chevalier, Janine Lückerath, Oliver Welz, Kay Weinhold, Felix Lauermann, Matthias Gottschalk, André Ehrlich, Manfred Wendisch, Paulo Fialho, Greg Roberts, Nithin Allwayin, Simeon Schum, Raymond A. Shaw, Claudio Mazzoleni, Lynn Mazzoleni, Jakub L. Nowak, Szymon P. Malinowski, Katarzyna Karpinska, Wojciech Kumala, Dominika Czyzewska, Edward P. Luke, Pavlos Kollias, Robert Wood, and Juan Pedro Mellado

Abstract

We report on the Azores Stratocumulus Measurements of Radiation, Turbulence and Aerosols (ACORES) campaign, which took place around Graciosa and Pico Islands/Azores in July 2017. The main objective was to investigate the vertical distribution of aerosol particles, stratocumulus microphysical and radiative properties, and turbulence parameters in the eastern North Atlantic. The vertical exchange of mass, momentum, and energy between the free troposphere (FT) and the cloudy marine boundary layer (MBL) was explored over a range of scales from submeters to kilometers. To cover these spatial scales with appropriate measurements, helicopter-borne observations with unprecedented high resolution were realized using the Airborne Cloud Turbulence Observation System (ACTOS) and Spectral Modular Airborne Radiation Measurement System–Helicopter-Borne Observations (SMART-HELIOS) instrumental payloads. The helicopter-borne observations were combined with ground-based aerosol measurements collected at two continuously running field stations on Pico Mountain (2,225 m above sea level, in the FT), and at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) station on Graciosa (at sea level). First findings from the ACORES observations we are discussing in the paper are as follows: (i) we have observed a high variability of the turbulent cloud-top structure on horizontal scales below 100 m with local temperature gradients of up to 4 K over less than 1 m vertical distance, (ii) we have collected strictly collocated radiation measurements supporting the relevance of small-scale processes by revealing significant inhomogeneities in cloud-top brightness temperature to scales well below 100 m, and (iii) we have concluded that aerosol properties are completely different in the MBL and FT with often-complex stratification and frequently observed burst-like new particle formation.

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Manfred Wendisch, Andreas Macke, André Ehrlich, Christof Lüpkes, Mario Mech, Dmitry Chechin, Klaus Dethloff, Carola Barrientos Velasco, Heiko Bozem, Marlen Brückner, Hans-Christian Clemen, Susanne Crewell, Tobias Donth, Regis Dupuy, Kerstin Ebell, Ulrike Egerer, Ronny Engelmann, Christa Engler, Oliver Eppers, Martin Gehrmann, Xianda Gong, Matthias Gottschalk, Christophe Gourbeyre, Hannes Griesche, Jörg Hartmann, Markus Hartmann, Bernd Heinold, Andreas Herber, Hartmut Herrmann, Georg Heygster, Peter Hoor, Soheila Jafariserajehlou, Evelyn Jäkel, Emma Järvinen, Olivier Jourdan, Udo Kästner, Simonas Kecorius, Erlend M. Knudsen, Franziska Köllner, Jan Kretzschmar, Luca Lelli, Delphine Leroy, Marion Maturilli, Linlu Mei, Stephan Mertes, Guillaume Mioche, Roland Neuber, Marcel Nicolaus, Tatiana Nomokonova, Justus Notholt, Mathias Palm, Manuela van Pinxteren, Johannes Quaas, Philipp Richter, Elena Ruiz-Donoso, Michael Schäfer, Katja Schmieder, Martin Schnaiter, Johannes Schneider, Alfons Schwarzenböck, Patric Seifert, Matthew D. Shupe, Holger Siebert, Gunnar Spreen, Johannes Stapf, Frank Stratmann, Teresa Vogl, André Welti, Heike Wex, Alfred Wiedensohler, Marco Zanatta, and Sebastian Zeppenfeld

Abstract

Clouds play an important role in Arctic amplification. This term represents the recently observed enhanced warming of the Arctic relative to the global increase of near-surface air temperature. However, there are still important knowledge gaps regarding the interplay between Arctic clouds and aerosol particles, and surface properties, as well as turbulent and radiative fluxes that inhibit accurate model simulations of clouds in the Arctic climate system. In an attempt to resolve this so-called Arctic cloud puzzle, two comprehensive and closely coordinated field studies were conducted: the Arctic Cloud Observations Using Airborne Measurements during Polar Day (ACLOUD) aircraft campaign and the Physical Feedbacks of Arctic Boundary Layer, Sea Ice, Cloud and Aerosol (PASCAL) ice breaker expedition. Both observational studies were performed in the framework of the German Arctic Amplification: Climate Relevant Atmospheric and Surface Processes, and Feedback Mechanisms (AC) project. They took place in the vicinity of Svalbard, Norway, in May and June 2017. ACLOUD and PASCAL explored four pieces of the Arctic cloud puzzle: cloud properties, aerosol impact on clouds, atmospheric radiation, and turbulent dynamical processes. The two instrumented Polar 5 and Polar 6 aircraft; the icebreaker Research Vessel (R/V) Polarstern; an ice floe camp including an instrumented tethered balloon; and the permanent ground-based measurement station at Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, were employed to observe Arctic low- and mid-level mixed-phase clouds and to investigate related atmospheric and surface processes. The Polar 5 aircraft served as a remote sensing observatory examining the clouds from above by downward-looking sensors; the Polar 6 aircraft operated as a flying in situ measurement laboratory sampling inside and below the clouds. Most of the collocated Polar 5/6 flights were conducted either above the R/V Polarstern or over the Ny-Ålesund station, both of which monitored the clouds from below using similar but upward-looking remote sensing techniques as the Polar 5 aircraft. Several of the flights were carried out underneath collocated satellite tracks. The paper motivates the scientific objectives of the ACLOUD/PASCAL observations and describes the measured quantities, retrieved parameters, and the applied complementary instrumentation. Furthermore, it discusses selected measurement results and poses critical research questions to be answered in future papers analyzing the data from the two field campaigns.

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