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Condensation - Mass Flux Connection in Shallow Cu Clouds
  • Yefim Kogan
Yefim Kogan
NorthWest Research Associates,

Corresponding Author:ykogan@nwra.com

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The system of trade wind cumulus clouds observed during the RICO field project was simulated by an LES model over a 50x50 km2 domain size. Parameters of latent heat release were analyzed with the goal of parameterizing their effects on grids typical for NWP and large-scale models. Over 2000 clouds were examined focusing on relationship between parameters of latent heat release (phase transition rates) and dynamical/microphysical cloud characteristics. The phase transition rates (Tr), which in warm tropical clouds are represented by processes of condensation/evaporation, were analyzed by stratifying the clouds by their size/stage of maturity. The analyzed parameters included, among others, integral mass and buoyancy fluxes, cloud and rain water parameters. In our previous investigation we found that a remarkably strong correlation exists between Tr and upward mass flux (ℳ). The strong dependence of phase transition rates on ℳ, as well as linear relationship between Tr and ℳ, was explained by applying the condensation theory and the concept of “quasi-steady” supersaturation. The LES derived slope of the linear fit agreed with its theoretically predicted value with an error less than 5%. This result implies that supersaturation in clouds, on average, varies within a few percentage points of its quasi-steady value. The theory, as well as LES data, show that the Tr - ℳ linear fit is valid for local variables, and, therefore, may be integrated to obtain horizontal mean parameters. Expanding the Tr - ℳ relationship for vertically dependent horizontal mean variables, may provide the framework for development of sub-grid scale (SGS) latent heat release parameterization. It was also suggested that calculating the slope of the linear fit from concurrent measurements of temperature and vertical velocity, and comparing it with the theoretical slope based on the quasi-steady supersaturation assumption, may offer a method for estimating the supersaturation in clouds.