Microphysical imprint of entrainment in warm cumulus
Small, Jennifer D.
Chuang, Patrick Y.
Jonsson, Haflidi H.
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We analyse the cloud microphysical response to entrainment mixing in warm cumulus clouds observed from the CIRPAS Twin Otter during the GoMACCS field campaign near Houston, Texas, in summer 2006. Cloud drop size distributions and cloud liquid water contents from the Artium Flight phase-Doppler interferometer in conjunction with meteorological observations are used to investigate the degree to which inhomogeneous versus homogeneous mixing is preferred as a function of height above cloud base, distance from cloud edge and aerosol concentration. Using four complete days of data with 101 cloud penetrations (minimum 300m in length), we find that inhomogeneous mixing primarily explains liquid water variability in these clouds. Furthermore, we show that there is a tendency for mixing to be more homogeneous towards the cloud top, which we attribute to the combination of increased turbulent kinetic energy and cloud drop size with altitude which together cause the Damko¨ hler number to increase by a factor of between 10 and 30 from cloud base to cloud top. We also find that cloud edges appear to be air from cloud centres that have been diluted solely through inhomogeneous mixing. Theory predicts the potential for aerosol to affect mixing type via changes in drop size over the range of aerosol concentrations experienced (moderately polluted rural sites to highly polluted urban sites). However, the observations, while consistent with this hypothesis, do not show a statistically significant effect of aerosol on mixing type.
The article of record as published may be located at http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/tellusb.v65i0.19922
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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