Large-eddy simulation of subtropical cloud-topped boundary layers: 1. A forcing framework with closed surface energy balance
- Journal Article
Large‐eddy simulation (LES) of clouds has the potential to resolve a central question in climate dynamics, namely, how subtropical marine boundary layer (MBL) clouds respond to global warming. However, large‐scale processes need to be prescribed or represented parameterically in the limited‐area LES domains. It is important that the representation of large‐scale processes satisfies constraints such as a closed energy balance in a manner that is realizable under climate change. For example, LES with fixed sea surface temperatures usually do not close the surface energy balance, potentially leading to spurious surface fluxes and cloud responses to climate change. Here a framework of forcing LES of subtropical MBL clouds is presented that enforces a closed surface energy balance by coupling atmospheric LES to an ocean mixed layer with a sea surface temperature (SST) that depends on radiative fluxes and sensible and latent heat fluxes at the surface. A variety of subtropical MBL cloud regimes (stratocumulus, cumulus, and stratocumulus over cumulus) are simulated successfully within this framework. However, unlike in conventional frameworks with fixed SST, feedbacks between cloud cover and SST arise, which can lead to sudden transitions between cloud regimes (e.g., stratocumulus to cumulus) as forcing parameters are varied. The simulations validate this framework for studies of MBL clouds and establish its usefulness for studies of how the clouds respond to climate change. Show more
Journal / seriesJournal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
Pages / Article No.
SubjectBoundary layer clouds; Cloud radiative effects; Large-eddy simulation; Stratocumulus to cumulus transition
Organisational unit03991 - Schneider, Tapio (ehemalig)
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