Radiative impacts on the growth of drops within simulated marine stratocumulus. Part I: Maximum solar heating

Christopher M. Hartman, Jerry Y. Harrington

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19 Scopus citations


The effects of solar heating and infrared cooling on the vapor depositional growth of cloud drops, and hence the potential for collection enhancement, is investigated. Large eddy simulation (LES) of marine stratocumulus is used to generate 600 parcel trajectories that follow the mean motions of the cloud. Thermodynamic, dynamic, and radiative cloud properties are stored for each trajectory. An offline trajectory ensemble model (TEM) coupled to a bin microphysical model that includes the influences of radiation on drop growth is driven by the 600-parcel dataset. In line with previous results, including infrared cooling causes a reduction in the time for collection onset. This collection enhancement increases with drop concentration. Larger concentrations (400 cm-3) show a reduction in collection onset time of as much as 45 min. Including infrared cooling as well as solar heating in the LES and microphysical bin models has a number of effects on the growth of cloud drops. First, shortwave (SW) heating partially offsets cloud-top longwave (LW) cooling, which naturally reduces the influence of LW cooling on drop growth. Second, SW heating dominates over LW cooling at larger drop radii (≳200 μm), which causes moderately sized drops to evaporate. Third, unlike LW cooling, SW heating occurs throughout the cloud deck, which suppresses drop growth. All three of these effects tend to narrow the drop size spectrum. For intermediate drop concentrations (100-200 cm-3), it is shown that SW heating primarily suppresses collection initiation whereas at larger drop concentrations (≳250 cm-3) LW cooling dominates causing enhancements in collection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2323-2338
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number7 II
StatePublished - Jul 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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