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The morphology of simulated trade-wind convection and cold pools under wind shear
  • Kevin Christopher Helfer,
  • Louise Nuijens
Kevin Christopher Helfer
Delft University of Technology, Delft University of Technology

Corresponding Author:k.c.helfer@tudelft.nl

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Louise Nuijens
Delft University of Technology, Delft University of Technology
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A growing body of literature investigates convective organisation, but few studies to date have sought to investigate how wind shear plays a role in the spatial organization of shallow (trade-wind) convection. The present study hence investigates the morphology of precipitating marine cumulus convection using large-eddy-simulation experiments with zonal forward and backward shear and without shear. One set of simulations includes evaporation of precipitation, promoting for cold-pool development, and another set inhibits evaporation of precipitation and thus cold-pool formation. Without (or with only weak) subcloud-layer shear, conditions are unfavourable for convective deepening, as clouds remain stationary relative to their subcloud-layer roots so that precipitative downdrafts interfere with emerging updrafts. Under subcloud-layer forward shear, where the wind strengthens with height (a condition that is commonly found in the trades), clouds move at greater speed than their roots, and precipitation falls downwind away from emerging updrafts. Forward shear in the subcloud layer appears to promote the development of stronger subcloud circulations, with greater divergence in the cold-pool area downwind of the original cell and larger convergence and stronger uplift at the gust front boundary. As clouds shear forward, a larger fraction of precipitation falls outside of clouds, leading to more moistening within the cold pool (gust front).
27 Oct 2021Published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres volume 126 issue 20. 10.1029/2021JD035148