A Numerical Investigation of Mechanisms Linking Glaciation of the Ice-Phase to the Boundary Layer

Gad Levy Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523

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William R. Cotton Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523

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Abstract

Nine clouds are simulated by perturbing Florida Area Cumulus Experiment (FACE) field soundings employing the Colorado State University cloud model. After a cloud similar in size to the one observed is initiated, glaciation is simulated in experiments designed to study the mechanisms by which glaciation is communicated to the subcloud boundary layer. Numerical model results show that the vertical pressure mechanism consisting of hydrostatic and dynamic pressure gradient force and “pressure buoyancy” is present, as is the downdraft mechanism, but they are secondary to loading, temperature buoyancy, water vapor buoyancy and the horizontal dynamic forces on the scale of a single deep convective cloud. The communication mechanism that has the most sustained and coherent influence upon the subcloud layer is the settling and evaporation of precipitation. A clear implication of this study to weather modification is that for dynamic seeding to have a significant influence upon the upscale growth of a cloud system, artificially triggered explosive growth of relatively weak convective towers must also be aimed at a carefully designed increase in the rainfall from those clouds.

Abstract

Nine clouds are simulated by perturbing Florida Area Cumulus Experiment (FACE) field soundings employing the Colorado State University cloud model. After a cloud similar in size to the one observed is initiated, glaciation is simulated in experiments designed to study the mechanisms by which glaciation is communicated to the subcloud boundary layer. Numerical model results show that the vertical pressure mechanism consisting of hydrostatic and dynamic pressure gradient force and “pressure buoyancy” is present, as is the downdraft mechanism, but they are secondary to loading, temperature buoyancy, water vapor buoyancy and the horizontal dynamic forces on the scale of a single deep convective cloud. The communication mechanism that has the most sustained and coherent influence upon the subcloud layer is the settling and evaporation of precipitation. A clear implication of this study to weather modification is that for dynamic seeding to have a significant influence upon the upscale growth of a cloud system, artificially triggered explosive growth of relatively weak convective towers must also be aimed at a carefully designed increase in the rainfall from those clouds.

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