Analytical investigation of the role of lateral mixing in the evolution of nonprecipitating cumulus. Part II: Dissolving stage

M. Pinsky, A. Khain*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A minimalistic analytical model allowing analysis of the dissolving stage of nonprecipitating convective clouds is proposed. The model takes into account two mechanisms: turbulent mixing with a dry environment and cloud volume settling. The temporal changes in the spatial structure of a cloud and in its immediate environment in the course of cloud dissolving are analyzed. The comparison of the effects of a temperature increase in the course of cloud descent and mixing with dry surrounding air shows that the descent is a dominating factor determining a decrease in the liquid water content (LWC), while mixing has a stronger effect on the cloud shape. Narrowing/broadening of clouds due to lateral mixing with dry air during cloud dissolving is determined by the potential evaporation parameter proportional to the ratio of the saturation deficit in the cloud environment to LWC. An equation for cloud dissolving time is obtained. After a cloud totally dissolves, it leaves behind an area with humidity exceeding that of the environment. The main parameter determining the dissolving time is the downdraft velocity. It should exceed 50 cm s21 in order to provide reasonable dissolving time. The turbulent intensity, LWC, and humidity of the environment air also have an impact on dissolving time: the lower the LWC and the humidity of environment air, the faster cloud dissolving is. The simple solution presented in this paper can be useful for evaluation of cloud characteristics at the dissolving stage and can be included in procedures of parameterization of cloud cover formed by nonprecipitating or slightly precipitating cumulus clouds (Cu). Values of the environment humidity and temperature, LWC at cloud top, cloud width, vertical velocity of downdraft, and the turbulent coefficient should be parameters of this parameterization.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)911-924
Number of pages14
JournalJournals of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020

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© 2020 American Meteorological Society.


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