Cloud droplet growth in shallow cumulus clouds considering 1-D and 3-D thermal radiative effects
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Cloud droplet growth in shallow cumulus clouds considering 1-D and 3-D thermal radiative effects

  • Published Date:

    2019

  • Source:
    Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 19(9), 6295-6313
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Cloud droplet growth in shallow cumulus clouds considering 1-D and 3-D thermal radiative effects
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  • Description:
    The effect of 1-D and 3-D thermal radiation on cloud droplet growth in shallow cumulus clouds is investigated using large eddy simulations with size-resolved cloud microphysics. A two-step approach is used for separating microphysical effects from dynamical feedbacks. In step one, an offline parcel model is used to describe the onset of rain. The growth of cloud droplets to raindrops is simulated with bin-resolved microphysics along previously recorded Lagrangian trajectories. It is shown that thermal heating and cooling rates can enhance droplet growth and raindrop production. Droplets grow to larger size bins in the 10–30 µm radius range. The main effect in terms of raindrop production arises from recirculating parcels, where a small number of droplets are exposed to strong thermal cooling at cloud edge. These recirculating parcels, comprising about 6 %–7 % of all parcels investigated, make up 45 % of the rain for the no-radiation simulation and up to 60 % when 3-D radiative effects are considered. The effect of 3-D thermal radiation on rain production is stronger than that of 1-D thermal radiation. Three-dimensional thermal radiation can enhance the rain amount up to 40 % compared to standard droplet growth without radiative effects in this idealized framework. In the second stage, fully coupled large eddy simulations show that dynamical effects are stronger than microphysical effects, as far as the production of rain is concerned. Three-dimensional thermal radiative effects again exceed one-dimensional thermal radiative effects. Small amounts of rain are produced in more clouds (over a larger area of the domain) when thermal radiation is applied to microphysics. The dynamical feedback is shown to be an enhanced cloud circulation with stronger subsiding shells at the cloud edges due to thermal cooling and stronger updraft velocities in the cloud center. It is shown that an evaporation–circulation feedback reduces the amount of rain produced in simulations where 3-D thermal radiation is applied to microphysics and dynamics, in comparison to where 3-D thermal radiation is only applied to dynamics.
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