Scaling Analysis of Temperature and Liquid Water Content in the Marine Boundary Layer Clouds during POST

Ma Y.-F., Malinowski S.P., Karpińska K., Gerber H.E. and Kumala W.

Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences

74 (12), 2017, 4075–4092, 10.1175/JAS-D-17-0015.1

The authors have analyzed the scaling behavior of marine boundary layer (MBL) clouds using high-resolution temperature (T) and liquid water content (LWC) fluctuations from aircraft measurements collected over the Pacific Ocean during the Physics of Stratocumulus Top (POST) research campaign in summer of 2008. As an extension of the past studies for scale-invariant properties of MBL clouds, the authors studied the variability of scaling exponents with height. The results showed that both LWC and T have two distinct scaling regimes: the first one displays scale invariance over a range from about 1–5 m to at least 7 km, and the second one goes from about 0.1–1 to 1–5 m. For the large-scale regime (r > 1–5 m), turbulence in MBL clouds is multifractal, while scale break and scaling exponents vary with height, most significantly in the cloud-top region. For example, LWC spectral exponent β increases from 1.42 at cloud base to 1.58 at cloud top, while scale break decreases from ~5 m at cloud base to 0.8 m at cloud top. The bifractal parameters (H1, C1) for LWC increase from (0.14, 0.02) at cloud base to (0.33, 0.1) at cloud top while maintaining a statistically significant linear relationship C1 ≈ 0.4H1 − 0.04 in MBL clouds. From near surface to cloud top, (H1, C1) for T also increase with height, but above cloud top H1 increases and C1 decreases with height. The results suggest the existence of three turbulence regimes: near the surface, in the middle of the boundary layer, and in the cloud-top region, which need to be distinguished.