Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences
This is the Part II of a two-part study that seeks a theoretical understanding of an empirical relationship for shallow cumulus clouds: subcloud updraft velocity covaries linearly with the cloud-base height. This work focuses on continental cumulus clouds that are more strongly forced by surface fluxes and more deviated from equilibrium than those over oceans (Part I). We use a simple analytical model for shallow cumulus that is well tested against a high-resolution (25 m in the horizontal) large-eddy simulation model. Consistent with a conventional idea, we find that surface Bowen ratio is the key variable that regulates the covariability of both parameters: under the same solar insolation, a drier surface allows for stronger buoyancy flux, triggering stronger convection that deepens the subcloud layer. We find that the slope of the Bowen-ratio-regulated relationship between the two parameters (defined as l) is dependent on both the local time and the stability of the lower free atmosphere. The value of l decreases with time exponentially from sunrise to early afternoon and linearly from early afternoon to sunset. The value of l is larger in a more stable atmosphere. In addition, continental l in the early afternoon more than doubles the oceanic l. Validation of the theoretical results against ground observations over the Southern Great Plains shows a reasonable agreement. Physical mechanisms underlying the findings are explained from the perspective of different time scales at which updrafts and cloud-base height respond to a surface flux forcing.
U.S. Department of Energy
Meteorology and Climate Science
Youtong Zheng, Mirjana Sakradzija, Seoung Soo Lee, and Zhanqing Li. "Theoretical understanding of the linear relationship between convective updrafts and cloud-base height for shallow cumulus clouds. Part II: Continental conditions" Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences (2020): 1313-1328. https://doi.org/10.1175/JAS-D-19-0301.1