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The role of eddy diffusivity profiles on stratocumulus liquid water path biases

SR de Roode

Results from simulations of the stratocumulus-topped boundary layer with one-dimensional versions of general simulation models typically exhibit a wide range of spread in the modeled LWP. These discrepancies are often attributed to differences in the modeled entrainment rate. Results from a Large-eddy simulation of the First International Satellite Climatology Project (ISCCP) Regional Experiment (FIRE) I stratocumulus case are analysed. The diagnosed eddy diffusivities for heat and moisture are found to differ by about a factor of three. Moreover, both have a much larger magnitude than the ones typically applied in boundary-layer parameterization schemes. Motivated by these results mean state solutions are analysed for the specific case in which the vertical fluxes of heat and moisture are prescribed, whereas eddy diffusivity profiles are systematically varied by multiplication with a constant factor. The solutions demonstrate that any value, ranging from zero to a maximum adiabatic value, can be obtained for the LWP. In the subtropical parts over the ocean where horizontally extended stratocumulus fields persist, the surface sensible heat flux is typically small, whereas surface evaporation and entrainment of relatively dry air from above the surface can result in significant moisture fluxes. If the eddy diffusivity values are small, then the mean specific humidity will tend to decrease quite rapidly with height in order to support the humidity flux. This results in erroneous low humidity values in the upper part of the boundary layers causing low LWP values.

Bibliografische gegevens

SR de Roode. The role of eddy diffusivity profiles on stratocumulus liquid water path biases
accepted, Mon. Wea. Rev., 2006

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