Buoyant Production and Consumption of Turbulence Kinetic Energy in Cloud-Topped Mixed Layers

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  • 1 Goddard Laboratory for Atmospheric Sciences, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771
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Abstract

Entrainment closure theories for mixed-layer models entail assumptions about how the net rate of buoyant production of turbulence kinetic energy is partitioned into gross production and consumption. Three alternative partitioning theories are examined in this paper: Eulerian partitioning, process partitioning and Lagrangian partitioning. Lagrangian partitioning provides a definition of the gross production rate, but is difficult to implement directly. Eulerian and process partitioning are attempts to implement Lagrangian partitioning indirectly.

For the buoyancy fluxes due to a single family of plumes, Eulerian and Lagrangian partitioning are shown to be equivalent. Recent observations reported by Wilczak and Businger rule out such a model. However, it serves as a useful conceptual link between Eulerian and Lagrangian partitioning.

Process partitioning can be formulated in a variety of ways. Examples show that mixed-layer model results are very sensitive to the way in which radiative cooling is assumed to influence the production and consumption rates. A quantitative relationship between process partitioning and Lagrangian partitioning has yet to be established. The observations of Wilczak and Businger show that consumption and entrainment are not as closely linked as current versions of process partitioning suggest.

Abstract

Entrainment closure theories for mixed-layer models entail assumptions about how the net rate of buoyant production of turbulence kinetic energy is partitioned into gross production and consumption. Three alternative partitioning theories are examined in this paper: Eulerian partitioning, process partitioning and Lagrangian partitioning. Lagrangian partitioning provides a definition of the gross production rate, but is difficult to implement directly. Eulerian and process partitioning are attempts to implement Lagrangian partitioning indirectly.

For the buoyancy fluxes due to a single family of plumes, Eulerian and Lagrangian partitioning are shown to be equivalent. Recent observations reported by Wilczak and Businger rule out such a model. However, it serves as a useful conceptual link between Eulerian and Lagrangian partitioning.

Process partitioning can be formulated in a variety of ways. Examples show that mixed-layer model results are very sensitive to the way in which radiative cooling is assumed to influence the production and consumption rates. A quantitative relationship between process partitioning and Lagrangian partitioning has yet to be established. The observations of Wilczak and Businger show that consumption and entrainment are not as closely linked as current versions of process partitioning suggest.

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