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Large-Eddy Simulations of a Drizzling, Stratocumulus-Topped Marine Boundary...

Ackerman, A. S., M. VanZanten, B. Stevens, V. Savic-Jovcic, C. S. Bretherton, A. Chlond, J.-C. Golaz, H. Jiang, M. Khairoutdinov, S. K. Krueger, D. C. Lewellen, A. Lock, C.-H. Moeng, K. Nakamura, M. D. Petters, J. R. Snider, S. Weinbrecht, and M. Zulauf (2009), Large-Eddy Simulations of a Drizzling, Stratocumulus-Topped Marine Boundary Layer, Mon. Wea. Rev., 137, 1083-1110, doi:10.1175/2008MWR2582.1.

Cloud water sedimentation and drizzle in a stratocumulus-topped boundary layer are the focus of an intercomparison of large-eddy simulations. The context is an idealized case study of nocturnal stratocumulus under a dry inversion, with embedded pockets of heavily drizzling open cellular convection. Results from 11 groups are used. Two models resolve the size distributions of cloud particles, and the others parameterize cloud water sedimentation and drizzle. For the ensemble of simulations with drizzle and cloud water sedimentation, the mean liquid water path (LWP) is remarkably steady and consistent with the measurements, the mean entrainment rate is at the low end of the measured range, and the ensemble-average maximum vertical wind variance is roughly half that measured. On average, precipitation at the surface and at cloud base is smaller, and the rate of precipitation evaporation greater, than measured. Including drizzle in the simulations reduces convective intensity, increases boundary layer stratification, and decreases LWP for nearly all models. Including cloud water sedimentation substantially decreases entrainment, decreases convective intensity, and increases LWP for most models. In nearly all cases, LWP responds more strongly to cloud water sedimentation than to drizzle. The omission of cloud water sedimentation in simulations is strongly discouraged, regardless of whether or not precipitation is present below cloud base.

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Research Program: 
Radiation Science Program (RSP)