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Exploring the nonlinear cloud and rain equation
  • Published Date:
    2017
  • Source:
    Chaos, 27(1), 9.
Filetype[PDF-3.14 MB]


Details:
  • Description:
    Marine stratocumulus cloud decks are regarded as the reflectors of the climate system, returning back to space a significant part of the income solar radiation, thus cooling the atmosphere. Such clouds can exist in two stable modes, open and closed cells, for a wide range of environmental conditions. This emergent behavior of the system, and its sensitivity to aerosol and environmental properties, is captured by a set of nonlinear equations. Here, using linear stability analysis, we express the transition from steady to a limit-cycle state analytically, showing how it depends on the model parameters. We show that the control of the droplet concentration (N), the environmental carrying-capacity (H-0), and the cloud recovery parameter (tau) can be linked by a single nondimensional parameter (mu = root N/(alpha tau H-0)), suggesting that for deeper clouds the transition from open (oscillating) to closed (stable fixed point) cells will occur for higher droplet concentration (i.e., higher aerosol loading). The analytical calculations of the possible states, and how they are affected by changes in aerosol and the environmental variables, provide an enhanced understanding of the complex interactions of clouds and rain. (C) 2017 Author(s).

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