Vortex Structure of Head Bubble in Convective Cloud Starting Plume

Mark Pinsky, Eshkol Eytan, Ehud Gavze, Alexander Khain*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A developing cumulus cloud (Cu) was modeled, and dynamic, thermodynamic, and microphysical properties of an ascending head bubble reproducing the upper part of a developing Cu were investigated. The data for analysis are taken from 10-m-resolution LES of trade wind Cu under BOMEX conditions. The detection of a rising bubble is carried out using wavelet filtering of the velocity fields and microphysical fields, while a low-frequency signal of the filtering is associated with the convective-scale structure of cloud. We substantiate and discuss the representation of the bubble as a vortex ring, and estimate the parameters of this vortex ring. The simplest Hill’s vortex was chosen as a model of a vortex ring inside cloud. Analytical approximations of the radial profiles of the vertical velocity and of conservative quantities (such as total water mixing ratio and liquid water potential temperature inside and outside the bubble) are obtained. The spatial structure of these quantities is investigated using analytical expressions. Analytical models for spatial distributions of liquid water content (LWC) and adiabatic fraction (AF) are also designed and analyzed. The results demonstrate the existence of a cloud core with high values of LWC and AF up to the height of 1800 m. The horizontally averaged value of the adiabatic fraction, calculated analytically using the Hill’s vortex concept, is evaluated as 0.39, which is the typical AF value in the upper parts of such Cu. The vertical profiles of different important quantities characterizing cloud structure are presented. The analysis performed in this study allows us to conclude that a rising vortex ring plays the dominating role in formation of the thermodynamic and microphysical structure of developing Cu.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2091-2113
Number of pages23
JournalJournals of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023

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  • Convective clouds
  • Turbulence
  • Wavelets


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