Contrasting Scale Dependence of Entrainment-Mixing Mechanisms in Stratocumulus Clouds

Sinan Gao, Chunsong Lu, Yangang Liu, Fan Mei, Jian Wang, Lei Zhu, Shuqi Yan

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25 Scopus citations


The apparent turbulent entrainment-mixing mechanism between clouds and surrounding air is scale dependent; however, such scale dependence has been rarely studied, hindering development of scale-aware entrainment-mixing parameterizations. Here we extend our previous study on cumulus clouds to investigate scale dependence of entrainment-mixing processes in stratocumulus clouds during Aerosol and Cloud Experiments in Eastern North Atlantic and Routine AAF (Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Aerial Facility) Clouds with Low Optical Water Depths (CLOWD) Optical Radiative Observations (RACORO). In contrast to previous studies, two opposite scale dependencies are found: Entrainment mixing can become more homogeneous or more inhomogeneous with increasing averaging scales, which is quantified by the difference between homogeneous mixing degree at the 100 and 10 m resolutions. A new heuristic model and two new quantities are introduced. The observations and model show that microphysical properties near and far away from droplet-free air and relative humidity of entrained air determine both the sign and strength of scale dependence, while droplet-free air fraction only affects the strength. The results shed new light on developing scale-aware parameterizations of entrainment-mixing mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020GL086970
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 16 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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