About the horizontal variability of effective radius in stratocumulus clouds

L. Magaritz-Ronen*, A. Khain, M. Pinsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The role of turbulent mixing in formation of low horizontal variability of effective radius near the top of nondrizzling stratocumulus clouds is investigated in simulations of clouds observed during the Second Dynamics and Chemistry of Marine Stratocumulus field experiment. The clouds are simulated using a spectral bin microphysics Lagrangian-Eulerian model consisting of ~2000 adjacent parcels moving in a turbulence-like field with observed correlation properties. The parcels interact through drop sedimentation and turbulent mixing. It was found that the effective radius variability in the horizontal direction near cloud top does not exceed ~10% of the averaged value. Three different types of cloud parcels are revealed to be differently influenced by mixing: ascending slightly diluted parcels, cloudy parcels experiencing intense mixing with parcels from inversion, and initially dry parcels. The evolution of droplet size distributions in parcels belonging to these types is investigated. It is shown that in parcels of the first two types the values of effective radii do not change or change only slightly remaining close to the adiabatic value. In initially droplet-free parcels effective radius rapidly reaches a value close to the adiabatic value, while liquid water content remains low. Therefore, turbulent mixing leads to establishing vertical profiles of effective radius, which are close to the adiabatic profile.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)9640-9660
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue number16
StatePublished - 2016

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© 2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


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