Combined Effect of the Wegener-Bergeron-Findeisen Mechanism and Large Eddies on Microphysics of Mixed-Phase Stratiform Clouds

Alexander Khain*, M. Pinsky, A. Korolev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The process of glaciation in mixed-phase stratiform clouds was investigated by a novel Lagrangian-Eulerian model (LEM) in which thousands of adjoining Lagrangian parcels moved within a turbulent-like velocity field with statistical parameters typical of the Arctic boundary layer. We used detailed bin microphysics to describe the condensation/evaporation processes in each parcel, in which droplets, aerosols, and ice particles were described using size distributions of 500 mass bins. The model also calculated aerosol mass inside droplets and ice particles. Gravitational sedimentation of droplets and ice particles was also accounted for. Assuming that droplet freezing is the primary source of ice particles, the Arctic clouds observed in Indirect and Semi-Direct Aerosol Campaign (ISDAC) were successfully simulated. The model showed that at a low ice particle concentration typical of ISDAC, large vortices (eddies) led to a quasi-stationary regime, in which mixed-phase St existed for a long time. The large eddies controlled the water partitioning in the mixed-phase clouds. Droplets formed and grew in updrafts, typically reaching the cloud top, and evaporated in downdrafts. Ice particles grew in updrafts and downdrafts. The Wegener-Bergeron-Findeisen (WBF) mechanism was efficient in downdrafts and some parts of updrafts, depending on ice concentration and vertical velocity. At low ice concentrations, the effect of ice on the phase partitioning was negligible. In this regime, liquid droplets were found near the cloud top, whereas ice particles precipitated through the cloud base. When ice concentration exceeded about 10 L21, the WBF mechanism led to glaciation of almost the entire cloud, with the exception of narrow cloud regions associated with strong updrafts. At ice particle concentrations of a few tens per liter, the oscillatory regime took place due to the ice-liquid interaction. The microphysical structure of mixed-phase St forms as a combined effect of cloud dynamics (large eddies) and the WBF mechanism.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)383-407
Number of pages25
JournalJournals of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Meteorological Society.


  • Cloud microphysics
  • Freezing precipitation
  • Glaciation
  • Ice crystals
  • Large eddy simulations
  • Stratiform clouds


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