Effects of wind shear and radiative cooling on the stratocumulus-topped boundary layer
Kopec M., Malinowski S., Piotrowski Z.
Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
142 (701), 2016, 3222–3233, 10.1002/qj.2903
The effects of wind shear and radiative cooling on the stratocumulus-topped boundary layer (STBL) were investigated via a set of large-eddy simulations. The set-up of the numerical experiments was based on Flight TO13 from the Physics of Stratocumulus Top (POST) field campaign, in which sensible and latent heat fluxes at the surface were small and thermodynamic conditions prevented cloud-top entrainment instability.
The results demonstrate that the presence of radiative cooling invigorated convective circulations across the STBL and sharpened the inversion above the cloud, while wind shear at the top of the STBL was a source of turbulence in the capping inversion and caused dilution of the cloud top. The flux and gradient Richardson numbers in the capping inversion and in the topmost layer of the cloud were nearly critical.
Analysis of the turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) budget and its transport indicated that turbulence in the inversion capping the cloud was produced locally by wind shear and was dynamically decoupled from the turbulence driven by convective circulations across the STBL. Similar conclusions were derived for the topmost part of the cloud.