Simulating the Transition from Drizzling Marine Stratocumulus to Boundary Layer Cumulus with a Mesoscale Model

David B. Mechem, Yefim L. Kogan
2003 Monthly Weather Review  
A case of coastal California summer season boundary layer cloud has been simulated with the U. S. Navy Coupled Ocean/Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System and the results analyzed in the context of consistency with conclusions derived from LES-based studies. Results show a pronounced diurnal cycle and fair agreement with satellite-derived observations of liquid water path. When drizzle processes are included, a significant degree of mesoscale organization emerges in the form of cloud bands,
more » ... of cloud bands, accompanied by a transition from a well mixed boundary layer topped by unbroken stratocumulus cloud into a more potentially unstable, convective boundary layer regime. The transition and the subsequent development of mesoscale variability is analogous to the drizzle-induced cloud breakup produced in large eddy simulation studies. The dynamics of the pure stratocumulus cloud are dictated by the model's subgrid parameterization, while the more convective regime exhibits appreciable vertical velocities characteristic of an ensemble of cumulus updrafts. The existence of convective updrafts is tied to a weak drizzleinduced decoupling of the cloud and subcloud layer, after which air of higher θ e can pool at the surface. Some similarities to the propagation of deep convection are also noted. 3
doi:10.1175/1520-0493(2003)131<2342:sttfdm>;2 fatcat:thluky5aerbi7auktnuyi5i4cm