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Sensitivity of idealized mixed-phase stratocumulus to climate perturbations

Zhang, Xiyue and Schneider, Tapio and Kaul, Colleen M. (2020) Sensitivity of idealized mixed-phase stratocumulus to climate perturbations. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 146 (732). pp. 3285-3305. ISSN 0035-9009. doi:10.1002/qj.3846.

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Large eddy simulations (LES) that explicitly resolve boundary layer (BL) turbulence and clouds are used to explore the sensitivity of idealized Arctic BL clouds to climate perturbations. The LES focus on conditions resembling springtime, when surface heat fluxes over sea ice are weak, and the cloud radiative effect is dominated by the longwave effect. In the LES, the condensed water path increases with BL temperature and free‐tropospheric relative humidity, but it decreases with inversion strength. The dependencies of cloud properties on environmental variables exhibited by the LES can largely be reproduced by a mixed‐layer model. Mixed‐layer model analysis shows that the liquid water path increases with warming because the liquid water gradient increase under warming overcompensates for geometric cloud thinning. This response contrasts with the response of subtropical stratocumulus to warming, whose liquid water path decreases as the clouds thin geometrically under warming. The results suggest that methods used to explain the response of lower‐latitude BL clouds to climate change can also elucidate changes in idealized Arctic BL clouds, although subtropical and Arctic clouds occupy different thermodynamic regimes.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Zhang, Xiyue0000-0002-6031-7830
Schneider, Tapio0000-0001-5687-2287
Kaul, Colleen M.0000-0002-4462-0987
Additional Information:© 2020 Royal Meteorological Society. Issue Online: 09 November 2020; Version of Record online: 20 July 2020; Accepted manuscript online: 09 June 2020; Manuscript accepted: 04 June 2020; Manuscript revised: 15 May 2020; Manuscript received: 06 August 2019. Funding: National Science Foundation. Grant Number: CCF‐1048575.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:large eddy simulation; Arctic stratocumulus; mixed‐layer model; mixed‐phase clouds
Issue or Number:732
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200610-102248992
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Zhang, X, Schneider, T, Kaul, CM. Sensitivity of idealized mixed‐phase stratocumulus to climate perturbations. QJR Meteorol Soc. 2020; 146: 3285–3305.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:103819
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:10 Jun 2020 17:50
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:25

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