In this study a numerical cloud model is used to simulate the three-dimensional evolution of an oceanic tropical squall line observed during the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment and investigate the impact of small-scale physical processes including surface fluxes and ice microphysics on its structure and evolution. The observed squall line was oriented perpendicular to a moderately strong low-level jet. Salient features that are replicated by the model include an upshear-tilted leading convective region with multiple updraft maxima during its linear stage and the development of a 30-km scale midlevel vortex and associated transition of the line to a pronounced bow-shaped structure.
In this modeling approach, only surface flukes and stresses that differ from those of the undisturbed environment are included. This precludes an unrealistically large modification to the idealized quasi-steady base state and thus allows us to more easily isolate effects of internally generated surface fluxes and stresses on squall line evolution. Neither surface fluxes and stresses nor ice microphysics are necessary to simulate the salient features of the squall line. Their inclusion, however, results in differences in the timing of squall line evolution and greater realism of certain structural characteristics. Significant differences in the convectively induced cold pool strength occur between the early stages of simulations that included ice microphysics and a simulation that contained only warm-rain microphysical processes. The more realistic strength and depth of the cold pool in the simulations that contained ice processes is consistent with an updraft tilt that more closely resembles observations. The squall-line-induced surface fluxes also influence the strength but, more dramatically, the areal extent of the surface cold pool. For the majority of the 6-h simulation, this influence on the cold pool strength is felt only within several hundred meters of the surface. Significant impact of squall-line-induced surface, fluxes on the evolving deep convection at the leading edge of the cold pool is restricted to the later stages (t ≥ 4 h) of simulations and is most substantial in regions where the ground-relative winds are strong and the convectively induced cold pool is initially weak and shallow.