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Shouping Wang and Qing Wang

Abstract

An analysis of the condensation and evaporation processes involved in the classic Sommeria–Deardoff–Mellor turbulence cloud models is presented. A liquid water budget is derived from the diagnostic Gaussian cloud relations. It is found that the adiabatic condensation generated by turbulent eddies at the cloud base and the mean radiative cooling at the cloud top are the two major processes responsible for the condensation in the parameterizations for stratocumulus-topped boundary layers. The evaporation is directly related to the stratification of the boundary layers and the turbulence variability (variance and covariance) of the conserved thermodynamic variables. The evaporation caused by the turbulence variability plays a dominant role at the cloud top. The analysis also shows that the profile of the parameterized liquid water flux is primarily determined by the turbulence-generated condensation and evaporation in the cloud model. This model is also compared with other prognostic cloud schemes.

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Shouping Wang and Qing Wang

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This study focuses on the effects of drizzle in a one-dimensional third-order turbulence closure model of the nocturnal stratus-topped marine boundary layer. When the simulated drizzle rate is relatively small (maximum ∼0.6 mm day−1), steady-state solutions are obtained. The boundary layer stabilizes essentially because drizzle causes evaporative cooling of the subcloud layer. This stabilization considerably reduces the buoyancy flux and turbulence kinetic energy below the stratus cloud. Thus, drizzle tends to decouple the cloud from the subcloud layer in the model, as suggested by many observational studies. In addition, the evaporation of drizzle in the subcloud layer creates small scattered clouds, which are likely to represent cumulus clouds, below the solid stratus cloud in the model. The sensitivity experiments show that these scattered clouds help maintain a coupled boundary layer.

When the drizzle rate is relatively large (maximum ∼0.9 mm day−1), the response of the model becomes transient with bursts in turbulent fluxes. This phenomenon is related to the formation of the scattered cloud layer below the solid stratus cloud. It appears that the model is inadequate to represent the heat and moisture transport by strong updrafts covering a small fractional area in cumulus convection.

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Qing Wang and Bruce A. Albrecht

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Measurements of the thermodynamic and dynamic properties of entrainment events in marine stratocumulus are used to explain why cloud-top entrainment instability may not lead to the breakup of the clouds and to define the role of cloud-top entrainment on the turbulent mixing processes when buoyancy reversal due to mixing is released. The measurements were made off the coast of California during the First ISCCP Regional Experiment (FIRE 1987) by the NCAR Electra research aircraft. The data used in this study were collected on a day when the cloud-top jump conditions indicate possible buoyancy reversal for the entrained parcels that mix with cloudy air. The entrainment events are identified using a conditional sampling method. Ozone concentration is used as a tracer of inversion air to define the entrainment mixing fraction.

It is found that cloud-top entrainment ceases to be a mere interfacial phenomenon when buoyancy reversal of the entrainment parcel occurs. Strong entrainment preferentially occurs in the downdraft branch of the boundary-layer circulation, and its effect is not confined to a region near the cloud top. In the case studied here, the contribution to the negative buoyancy in the entrainment downdrafts through evaporative cooling is comparable with that from radiative cooling. The buoyancy deficit as the result of evaporation of cloud droplets is found to be insufficient to promote enhanced entrainment that leads to the breakup of the cloud deck, as suggested by the simple application of cloud-top entrainment instability (CTEI). A conceptual model for cloud-top entrainment that results in buoyancy reversal is proposed. This model emphasizes the interaction between entrainment and the boundary-layer circulation. According to this conceptual model, while buoyancy reversal tends to maintain a well-mixed boundary layer by providing deficit negative buoyancy to drive turbulent mixing, it may also accelerate the thinning and dissipation of a cloud deck once the boundary layer is decoupled by other processes such as solar absorption or drizzle. It is suggested here that a simple criterion for CTEI based solely on the cloud-top discontinuities is unlikely to exist since the dynamics of the entire boundary layer are involved in the entrainment process.

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Qing Wang and D. H. Lenschow

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Isolated cumuli penetrating through marine stratocumulus clouds were documented during the Atlantic Stratocumulus Transition Experiment. This paper aims at understanding the role of the penetrating cumulus in regulating stratocumulus and boundary-layer structure through analysis of data from the NCAR Electra aircraft. When penetrating cumulus clouds are present, the boundary layer is generally decoupled from the near-surface air except in the cumulus region. Therefore, air in the cumulus region includes air entrained at the cloud top, as well as air modified by surface processes. In the stratocumulus region, however, entrained inversion air and moist surface air are confined to separate layers. As a result, large horizontal variations are found in scalars, such as ozone and water vapor. Turbulence statistics and conditional sampling of entrainment events in the cumulus and stratocumulus regions indicate that stronger entrainment may occur at the cumulus top compared to the surrounding stratocumulus. This analysis is, however, complicated by insufficient sampling of cloud-top jump conditions in both regions.

Convergent flow in the lower boundary layer and compensating diverging flow in the upper boundary layer were identified along the flight trark. This flow field, together with the vertical coupling of surface air with the cloud layer in the cumulus region, helps to transport moisture upwards from the sea surface and disperse it to the surrounding stratocumulus sheet, thus helping to maintain the stratocumulus cover.

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John A. Kalogiros and Qing Wang

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Flow distortion is a major issue in the measurement of wind turbulence with gust probes mounted on a nose boom, at the radome, or under the wing of research aircraft. In this paper, the effects both of the propellers of a turboprop aircraft and of the aircraft vortex system on the pressure and wind velocity measurements near the nose of the aircraft are examined. It is shown that, for a turboprop aircraft, the sensors mounted near the nose are affected directly (slipstream) or indirectly (lift increase) by the propellers. The propeller effects are more significant for pressure sensors located ahead of the propellers on the fuselage and are less significant for the small local flow angles measured at the nose of the aircraft. The first case is clearly realized during in-flight calibration maneuvers performed by a turboprop aircraft. A major flow distortion, which seriously affects the vertical wind velocity measurements near the nose of an aircraft, is the upwash induced mainly by the wing-bound vortex. Also, low energy of the vertical wind component in the inertial subrange for scales larger than the fuselage diameter is usually observed in aircraft measurements. This is shown to be the result of not taking into account the decrease of the upwash correction with eddy frequency (or no need for such a correction in the inertial subrange) caused by the aerodynamic delay and the response of the wing vortex to turbulence. The level of energy in the inertial subrange of the vertical wind component is significant because it is commonly used for the estimation of the dissipation rate of turbulence kinetic energy. A method to estimate this frequency variable correction and correct the spectra or the time series of the estimated vertical wind component is described. Data from low-level flight legs with a Twin Otter aircraft show that this correction may result in about a 20% correction of the variance of the vertical wind component and a 5% correction of the vertical turbulent fluxes.

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John A. Kalogiros and Qing Wang

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A five-hole radome pressure probe at the nose of a small two-engine newly instrumented research aircraft was combined with global positioning system (GPS) receivers in differential mode to obtain high frequency measurements of the wind vector in the atmospheric boundary layer with possible accuracy (root-mean-square error) of about 0.1 m s−1. This low cost and simple system can provide wind velocity measurements of sufficient accuracy to estimate turbulent fluctuations. Special aircraft maneuvers above the atmospheric boundary layer were used to calibrate the radome probe. The analysis of these data showed that the static pressure defect has a significant dependence on flow angles and is affected by the propellers when significant thrust is applied. Using a simple method, the authors found that the pressure distribution on the radome deviated from the one expected for airflow incident on a sphere by more than 5%, the authors also detected a problem in the attack angle differential pressure sensor. The calibration of the local attack and sideslip flow angles due to flow distortion by the aircraft was obtained using two different methods. The first method was a least wind variance one assuming a linear form for the calibration of flow angles. This method is easy to use and can be applied in the presence of turbulence, but does not reveal any possible nonlinear dependence or problems in the data. The second method was a direct one that assumes near–zero mean vertical wind velocity above the boundary layer, while an average horizontal wind was estimated using the airstream speed with respect to the aircraft and the aircraft velocity from the differential GPS data. These methods gave similar results and, thus, increased the reliability of the calibration. The performance of the calibration procedure of the whole system was tested by examining the sensitivity of estimated wind components to the aircraft motion (about 5%) and the quality of mean profiles and turbulence statistics in the boundary layer.

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Denny P. Alappattu and Qing Wang

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During the Dynamics of Madden–Julian Oscillation (DYNAMO) Experiment in 2011, airborne expendable conductivity–temperature–depth (AXCTD) probes and airborne expendable bathythermographs (AXBTs) were deployed using NOAA’s WP-3D Orion aircraft over the southern tropical Indian Ocean. From initial analysis of the AXCTD data, about 95% of profiles exhibit double mixed layer structures. The presence of a mixed layer from some of these profiles were erroneous and were introduced because of the AXCTD processing software not being able to correctly identify the starting point of the probe descent. This work reveals the impact of these errors in data processing and presents an objective method to remove such erroneous data from the profiles using spectrograms from raw audio files. Reconstructed AXCTD/AXBT profiles are compared with collocated shipborne conductivity–temperature–depth (CTD) and expendable bathythermograph (XBT) profiles and are found to be in good agreement.

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Shouping Wang, Qing Wang, and Graham Feingold

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Condensation and turbulent liquid water transport in stratocumulus clouds involve complicated interactions between turbulence dynamics and cloud microphysical processes, and play essential roles in defining the cloud structure. This work aims at understanding this dynamical–microphysical interaction and providing information necessary for parameterizations of the ensemble mean condensation rate and turbulent fluxes of liquid water variables in a coupled turbulence–microphysics model. The approach is to simulate nonprecipitating stratocumulus clouds with a coupled large eddy simulation and an explicit bin-microphysical model, and then perform a budget analysis for four liquid water variables: mean liquid water content, turbulent liquid water flux, mean cloud droplet number concentration, and the number density flux. The results show that the turbulence contribution to the mean condensation rate comes from covariance of the integral cloud droplet radius and supersaturation, which enhances condensation in turbulent updrafts and reduces evaporation in the downdrafts. Turbulent liquid water flux results from a close balance between turbulence dynamics and microphysical processes. Consequently, the flux can be parameterized in terms of the common diffusive downgradient formulation, fluxes of conservative thermodynamic variables, the turbulence mixing timescale, and the condensation timescale, which is determined by the droplet spectrum. The results also suggest that the condensation timescale regulates the turbulence fields, as does the number concentration, because it affects the condensation fluctuation, which is highly correlated with the turbulence vertical motion. A saturation adjustment cloud model, which diagnoses liquid water content at its equilibrium level, instantly condenses (evaporates) all available water vapor (liquid water) surplus. Consequently, there is likely to be a systematic difference between the turbulence field resolved with this type of model and that with a supersaturation-based cloud scheme for which a finite condensation timescale applies.

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Jing Yang, Bin Wang, Bin Wang, and Qing Bao

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The lower reach of the Yangtze River basin (LYRB) is located at the central region of the mei-yu and baiu front, which represents the subtropical East Asian (EA) summer monsoon. Based on the newly released daily rainfall data, two dominant intraseasonal variation (ISV) modes are identified over the LYRB during boreal summer (May–August), with spectral peaks occurring on day 15 (the biweekly mode) and day 24 (the 21–30-day mode). These two modes have comparable intensities, and together they account for above about 57% of the total intraseasonal variance. Both ISV modes exhibit baroclinic structures over the LYRB at their extreme phases.

However, the genesis and evolutions associated with the two modes are different. Considering the genesis of their extreme wet phases over the LYRB, the biweekly mode is initiated by a midlatitude jet stream vorticity anomaly moving southeastward, while the 21–30-day mode is primarily associated with a low-level westward propagation of an anticyclonic anomaly from 145° to 120°E, which reflects the westward extension of the western North Pacific subtropical high (WNPSH). The development of the biweekly mode at LYRB is enhanced by the northwestward movement of a low-level anticyclonic anomaly from the Philippine Sea to the south of Taiwan, which is a result of the enhancement of the WNPSH resulting from its merger with a transient midlatitude high. In contrast, the development of the 21–30-day mode is enhanced by an upper-level trough anomaly moving from Lake Baikal to far east Russia. These two ISV periodicities are also found to be embedded in their corresponding source regions.

The new knowledge on the sources and evolutions of the two major LYRB ISV modes provides empirical predictors for the intraseasonal variation in the subtropical EA summer monsoon.

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Sicheng He, Jing Yang, Qing Bao, Lei Wang, and Bin Wang

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Realistic reproduction of historical extreme precipitation has been challenging for both reanalysis and global climate model (GCM) simulations. This work assessed the fidelities of the combined gridded observational datasets, reanalysis datasets, and GCMs [CMIP5 and the Chinese Academy of Sciences Flexible Global Ocean–Atmospheric Land System Model–Finite-Volume Atmospheric Model, version 2 (FGOALS-f2)] in representing extreme precipitation over East China. The assessment used 552 stations’ rain gauge data as ground truth and focused on the probability distribution function of daily precipitation and spatial structure of extreme precipitation days. The TRMM observation displays similar rainfall intensity–frequency distributions as the stations. However, three combined gridded observational datasets, four reanalysis datasets, and most of the CMIP5 models cannot capture extreme precipitation exceeding 150 mm day−1, and all underestimate extreme precipitation frequency. The observed spatial distribution of extreme precipitation exhibits two maximum centers, located over the lower-middle reach of Yangtze River basin and the deep South China region, respectively. Combined gridded observations and JRA-55 capture these two centers, but ERA-Interim, MERRA, and CFSR and almost all CMIP5 models fail to capture them. The percentage of extreme rainfall in the total rainfall amount is generally underestimated by 25%–75% in all CMIP5 models. Higher-resolution models tend to have better performance, and physical parameterization may be crucial for simulating correct extreme precipitation. The performances are significantly improved in the newly released FGOALS-f2 as a result of increased resolution and a more realistic simulation of moisture and heating profiles. This work pinpoints the common biases in the combined gridded observational datasets and reanalysis datasets and helps to improve models’ simulation of extreme precipitation, which is critically important for reliable projection of future changes in extreme precipitation.

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