Large-eddy simulation of subtropical cloud-topped boundary layers: 2. Cloud response to climate change
Pressel, Kyle G.
- Journal Article
How subtropical marine boundary layer (MBL) clouds respond to warming is investigated using large-eddy simulations (LES) of a wide range of warmer climates, with math formula concentrations elevated by factors 2–16. In LES coupled to a slab ocean with interactive sea surface temperatures (SST), the surface latent heat flux (LHF) is constrained by the surface energy balance and only strengthens modestly under warming. Consequently, the MBL in warmer climates is shallower than in corresponding fixed-SST LES, in which LHF strengthens excessively and the MBL typically deepens. The inferred shortwave (SW) cloud feedback with a closed energy balance is weakly positive for cumulus clouds. It is more strongly positive for stratocumulus clouds, with a magnitude that increases with warming. Stratocumulus clouds generally break up above math formula to math formula warming, or above a four to eightfold increase in math formula concentrations. This occurs because the MBL mixing driven by cloud-top longwave (LW) cooling weakens as the LW opacity of the free troposphere increases. The stratocumulus breakup triggers an abrupt and large SST increase and MBL deepening, which cannot occur in fixed-SST experiments. SW cloud radiative effects generally weaken while the lower-tropospheric stability increases under warming—the reverse of their empirical relation in the present climate. The MBL is deeper and stratocumulus persists into warmer climates if large-scale subsidence decreases as the climate warms. The contrasts between experiments with interactive SST and fixed SST highlight the importance of a closed surface energy balance for obtaining realizable responses of MBL clouds to warming Show more
Journal / seriesJournal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
Organisational unit03991 - Schneider, Tapio (ehemalig)
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