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Parameterization of cloud droplet size distributions: comparison with parcel models and observations

Hsieh, W. C. and Nenes, A. and Flagan, R. C. and Seinfeld, J. H. and Buzorius, G. and Jonsson, H. (2009) Parameterization of cloud droplet size distributions: comparison with parcel models and observations. Journal of Geophysical Research D, 114 (D11). Art. No. D11205. ISSN 0148-0227. doi:10.1029/2008JD011387.

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This work examines the efficacy of various physically based approaches derived from one-dimensional adiabatic parcel model frameworks (a numerical model and a simplified parameterization) to parameterize the cloud droplet distribution characteristics for computing cloud effective radius and autoconversion rate in regional/global atmospheric models. Evaluations are carried out for integrations with single (average) and distributions of updraft velocity, assuming that (1) conditions at s_(max) are reflective of the cloud column or (2) cloud properties vary vertically, in agreement with one-dimensional parcel theory. The predicted droplet distributions are then compared against in situ cloud droplet observations obtained during the CRYSTAL-FACE and CSTRIPE missions. Good agreement of droplet relative dispersion between parcel model frameworks indicates that the parameterized parcel model essentially captures one-dimensional dynamics; the predicted distributions are overly narrow, with relative dispersion being a factor of 2 lower than observations. However, if conditions at cloud maximum supersaturation are used to predict relative dispersion and applied throughout the cloud column, better agreement is seen with observations, especially if integrations are carried out over the distribution of updraft velocity. When considering the efficiency of the method, calculating cloud droplet spectral dispersion at s_(max) is preferred for linking aerosol with droplet distributions in large-scale models.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Nenes, A.0000-0003-3873-9970
Flagan, R. C.0000-0001-5690-770X
Seinfeld, J. H.0000-0003-1344-4068
Jonsson, H.0000-0003-3043-1074
Additional Information:© 2009 American Geophysical Union. Received 30 October 2008; accepted 2 April 2009; published 9 June 2009. This research was funded by the Department of Energy, an NSF CAREER award, a NASA New Investigator Award, and a graduate teaching assistantship from the School of Earth and Atmospheric Science at Georgia Institute of Technology. This work was also funded by the office of Naval Research under grant N00014-04-1-0118. We also thank three anonymous reviewers for comments that improved the article.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Office of Naval Research (ONR)N00014-04-1-0118
Department of Energy (DOE)UNSPECIFIED
Georgia Institute of TechnologyUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:droplet distribution; parameterization; aerosol
Issue or Number:D11
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20090811-154004114
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Hsieh, W. C., A. Nenes, R. C. Flagan, J. H. Seinfeld, G. Buzorius, and H. Jonsson (2009), Parameterization of cloud droplet size distributions: Comparison with parcel models and observations, J. Geophys. Res., 114, D11205, doi:10.1029/2008JD011387.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:14974
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:12 Aug 2009 17:22
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 23:15

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