A new mechanism of droplet size distribution broadening during diffusional growth

Alexei Korolev*, Mark Pinsky, Alex Khain

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


A new mechanism has been developed for size distribution broadening toward large droplet sizes. This mechanism may explain the rapid formation of large cloud droplets, which may subsequently trigger precipitation formation through the collision-coalescence process. The essence of the new mechanism consists of a sequence of mixing events between ascending and descending parcels. When adiabatically ascending and descending parcels having the same initial conditions at the cloud base arrive at the same level, they will have different droplet sizes and temperatures, as well as different supersaturations. Isobaric mixing between such parcels followed by further ascents and descents enables the enhanced growth of large droplets. The numerical simulation of this process suggests that the formation of large 30-40-μpmm droplets may occur within 20-30 min inside a shallow adiabatic stratiform layer. The dependencies of the rate of the droplet size distribution broadening on the intensity of the vertical fluctuations, their spatial amplitude, rate of mixing, droplet concentration, and other parameters are considered here. The effectiveness of this mechanism in different types of clouds is discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2051-2071
Number of pages21
JournalJournals of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2013


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