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Simulation of Mesoscale Cellular Convection in Marine Stratocumulus. Part I:...

Zhou, X., A. S. Ackerman, A. M. Fridlind, and P. Kollias (2018), Simulation of Mesoscale Cellular Convection in Marine Stratocumulus. Part I: Drizzling Conditions, J. Atmos. Sci., 75, 257-274, doi:10.1175/JAS-D-17-0070.1.

This study uses eddy-permitting simulations to investigate the mechanisms that promote mesoscale variability of moisture in drizzling stratocumulus-topped marine boundary layers. Simulations show that precipitation tends to increase horizontal scales. Analysis of terms in the prognostic equation for total water mixing ratio variance indicates that moisture stratification plays a leading role in setting horizontal scales. This result is supported by simulations in which horizontal mean thermodynamic profiles are strongly nudged to their initial well-mixed state, which limits cloud scales. It is found that the spatial variability of subcloud moist cold pools surprisingly tends to respond to, rather than determine, the mesoscale variability, which may distinguish them from dry cold pools associated with deeper convection. Simulations also indicate that moisture stratification increases cloud scales specifically by increasing latent heating within updrafts, which increases updraft buoyancy and favors greater horizontal scales.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)