Microphysical structure of the marine boundary layer under strong wind and sea spray formation as seen from a 2D explicit microphysical model. Part III: Parameterization of height-dependent droplet size distribution

J. Shpund, J. A. Zhang, M. Pinsky, A. Khain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper completes a series of studies using a 2D hybrid Lagrangian-Eulerian model to investigate the effect of sea spray on the thermodynamics and microphysics of the hurricane mixed layer. The evolution of the mixed layer was simulated by mimicking the motion of an air volume (in a Lagrangian sense) toward a tropical cyclone eyewall along a background airflow. During the radial motion, sea surface temperature, pressure, background wind speed, sea spray production rate, and turbulence intensity were altered according to the available observations. Analysis of the interaction between the hurricane mixed layer and the upper layers in terms of entrainment heat and moisture fluxes gives a new insight into the role of sea spray in the thermodynamics and microphysics of the mixed layer. The evaporation of sea spray leads to an increase in the relative humidity by 10%-15% and to a decrease in temperature by about 1-1.5 K, as compared to cases where sea spray is excluded. Sea spray leads to formation of drizzling clouds with the cloud base at the height of about 250 m. Taking the sea spray effect into account provides a good agreement between the thermodynamics of a simulated mixed layer and the observation data. A parameterization of droplet mass and size distributions as functions of height and wind speed is proposed. The horizontally averaged size distributions are approximated by a sum of lognormal distributions. The moments of size distributions and other integral properties are parameterized as functions of 10-m wind speed by means of simple polynomial expressions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1914-1934
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Volume71
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2014

Keywords

  • Atmosphere-ocean interaction
  • Cloud microphysics
  • Drop size distribution
  • Mixed layer
  • Subsidence
  • Tropical cyclones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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