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  • Author or Editor: Verica Savic-Jovcic x
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Verica Savic-Jovcic and Bjorn Stevens

Abstract

Large-eddy simulations are used to explore the structure and mesoscale organization of precipitating stratocumulus. The simulations incorporate a simple, two-moment, bulk representation of microphysical processes, which by varying specified droplet concentrations allows for comparisons of simulations that do and do not develop precipitation. The boundary layer is represented over a large (25.6 km × 25.6 km) horizontal domain using a relatively fine mesh, thereby allowing for the development of mesoscale circulations while retaining an explicit representation of cloud radiative, dynamical and microphysical interactions on scales much smaller than the dominant eddy scale. Initial conditions are based on measurements made as part of the Second Dynamics and Chemistry of the Marine Stratocumulus field study (DYCOMS-II). The simulations show that precipitation is accompanied by sharp reductions in cloudiness and changes in flow topology. Mesoscale features emerge in all of the simulations but are amplified in the presence of drizzle. A cloud albedo of near 75% in the nonprecipitating simulation is reduced to less than 35% in the precipitating case. The circulation transitions from a well-mixed, stationary stratocumulus layer with closed-cellular cloud planforms to a stationary cumulus-coupled layer, with incipient open-cellular cloud planforms and sustained domain-averaged surface precipitation rates near 1 mm day−1. The drizzling simulations embody many other features of observed precipitating stratocumulus, including elevated cloud tops in regions of precipitation and locally higher values of subcloud equivalent potential temperature. The latter is shown to result from the tendency for precipitating simulations to develop greater thermodynamic gradients in the subcloud layer as well as mesoscale circulations that locate regions of upward motion in the vicinity of precipitating cells.

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Miodrag Rančić, Hai Zhang, and Verica Savic-Jovcic

Abstract

Successful treatment of nonlinear momentum advection is one of the outstanding challenges for the application of rectangular quasi-uniform spherical grids in global circulation models. Quasi-uniform grids (e.g., cubic and octagonal), which are virtually assembled by connecting a set of regional domains along their boundaries, appear to be an excellent choice for the expansion of regional atmospheric models to global coverage. However, because of an unavoidable lack of orthogonality of these grids in the proximity of the singular points (i.e., the corner points connecting three neighboring rectangular tiles), a common-sense approach is to first generalize underlying numerical schemes to the general curvilinear coordinates, and then to apply globalization. In this procedure, assuming that a “weak conservative formulation” for the generalization is applied, the advective formalism of the Arakawa-type momentum schemes and some of their properties, especially those important for the long-term “climate type” simulations, may be lost. This paper discusses challenges faced in the application of Arakawa-type nonlinear advection schemes on the quasi-uniform semistaggered grids and suggests a solution that is based on discretization of the momentum equation in the vector form. Both the second- and the fourth-order energy-conserving nonlinear advection schemes are considered. The potential merits of this approach are demonstrated in a series of benchmark test integrations of a shallow-water model on the octagonal quasi-uniform grid.

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Donald H. Lenschow, Verica Savic-Jovcic, and Bjorn Stevens

Abstract

This paper considers the accuracy of divergence estimates obtained from aircraft measurements of the horizontal velocity field and points out an error that appears in these estimates that has heretofore not been addressed. A procedure for eliminating this error is presented. The divergence and vorticity are estimated from the coefficients of a least squares fit to a wind field obtained from the Second Dynamics and Chemistry of Marine Stratocumulus (DYCOMS-II) circular flight legs. These estimates are compared with estimates from numerical models and satellites and with airplane estimates based on tracer budgets and the temporal changes in cloud-top height. The estimates are consistent with expectations and estimates using other methods, albeit somewhat high. Furthermore, significant differences occur among the cases, likely due to the large differences in the techniques. The results indicate that the wind field technique is a viable approach for estimating mesoscale divergence if the wind measurements are accurate. The largest source of wind field systematic error may be the result of flow distortion effects on the air velocity measurement and limitations of in-flight calibrations. Because of flow distortion, the only way the current systems can be calibrated is by flight maneuvers, which assume a steady-state homogeneous nonturbulent atmosphere. Analysis of the errors in this technique suggests that wind field measurements with minimal systematic errors should provide estimates of divergence with much greater accuracy than is now possible with other existing methods.

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Bjorn Stevens, Anton Beljaars, Simona Bordoni, Christopher Holloway, Martin Köhler, Steven Krueger, Verica Savic-Jovcic, and Yunyan Zhang

Abstract

Data collected in situ as part of the second field study of the Dynamics and Chemistry of Marine Stratocumulus field program are used to evaluate the state of the atmosphere in the region of field operations near 30°N, 120°W during July 2001, as well as its representation by a variety of routinely available data. The routine data include both the 40-yr European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Re-Analysis (ERA-40) and NCEP–NCAR reanalyses, forecasts from their respective forecast systems (the Integrated and Global Forecast Systems), the 30-km archive from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP), the Quick Scatterometer surface winds, and remotely sensed fields derived from radiances measured by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Microwave Imager (TMI), the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit, and the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer. The analysis shows that outside of the boundary layer the state of the lower troposphere is reasonably represented by the reanalysis and forecast products, with the caveat of a slight warm bias at 850 hPa in the NCEP–NCAR products. Within the planetary boundary layer (PBL) the agreement is not as good: both the boundary layer depth and cloud amount are underpredicted, and the boundary layer temperature correlates poorly with the available data, which may be related to a poor representation of SSTs in this region of persistent cloud cover. ERA-40 also suffers from persistently weak zonal winds within the PBL. Among the satellite records the ISCCP data are found to be especially valuable, evincing skill in both predicting boundary layer depth (from cloud-top temperatures and TMI surface temperatures) and cloud liquid water paths (from cloud optical depths). An analysis of interannual variability (among Julys) based on ERA-40 and the 1983–2001 ISCCP record suggests that thermodynamic quantities show similar interannual and synoptic variability, principally concentrated just above the PBL, while dynamic quantities vary much more on synoptic time scales. Furthermore, the analysis suggests that the correlation between stratocumulus cloud amount and lower-tropospheric stability exhibits considerable spatial structure and is less pronounced than previously thought.

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Andrew S. Ackerman, Margreet C. vanZanten, Bjorn Stevens, Verica Savic-Jovcic, Christopher S. Bretherton, Andreas Chlond, Jean-Christophe Golaz, Hongli Jiang, Marat Khairoutdinov, Steven K. Krueger, David C. Lewellen, Adrian Lock, Chin-Hoh Moeng, Kozo Nakamura, Markus D. Petters, Jefferson R. Snider, Sonja Weinbrecht, and Mike Zulauf

Abstract

Cloud water sedimentation and drizzle in a stratocumulus-topped boundary layer are the focus of an intercomparison of large-eddy simulations. The context is an idealized case study of nocturnal stratocumulus under a dry inversion, with embedded pockets of heavily drizzling open cellular convection. Results from 11 groups are used. Two models resolve the size distributions of cloud particles, and the others parameterize cloud water sedimentation and drizzle. For the ensemble of simulations with drizzle and cloud water sedimentation, the mean liquid water path (LWP) is remarkably steady and consistent with the measurements, the mean entrainment rate is at the low end of the measured range, and the ensemble-average maximum vertical wind variance is roughly half that measured. On average, precipitation at the surface and at cloud base is smaller, and the rate of precipitation evaporation greater, than measured. Including drizzle in the simulations reduces convective intensity, increases boundary layer stratification, and decreases LWP for nearly all models. Including cloud water sedimentation substantially decreases entrainment, decreases convective intensity, and increases LWP for most models. In nearly all cases, LWP responds more strongly to cloud water sedimentation than to drizzle. The omission of cloud water sedimentation in simulations is strongly discouraged, regardless of whether or not precipitation is present below cloud base.

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