116 Measurements of Turbulent Mixing and Subsiding Shells in Trade Wind Cumuli

Monday, 7 July 2014
Jeannine Katzwinkel, Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, Germany; and H. Siebert, T. Schmeissner, T. Heus, and R. Shaw

High-resolution measurements of the turbulent, thermodynamic, and microphysical structure of the edges of trade wind cumuli have been performed with the Airborne Cloud Turbulence Observation System. Lateral entrainment of sub-saturated air into the cloud region leads to an evaporative cooling effect. The negatively buoyant air partly enhances the compensating downdraft, forming a subsiding shell at cloud edge. Based on the presented observations, the subsiding shell is divided into a turbulent and humid inner shell adjacent to the cloud interior and a non-buoyant, non-turbulent outer shell. In the trade wind region, continuous development of shallow cumuli over the day allows for an analysis of the properties of both shells as a function of different cloud evolution stages. The shallow cumuli are divided into actively growing, decelerated and dissolving ones based on cloud properties. As the cumuli evolve from actively growing to dissolving the subsaturated environmental air is mixed deeper and deeper into the cloud region and the subsiding shell grows at the expense of the cloud.
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