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The Turbulent Structure of the Arctic Summer Boundary Layer During The Arctic Summer Cloud-Ocean Study
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
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Number of Authors: 10
2017 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, ISSN 2169-897X, E-ISSN 2169-8996, Vol. 122, no 18, 9685-9704 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The mostly ice covered Arctic Ocean is dominated by low-level liquid-or mixed-phase clouds. Turbulence within stratocumulus is primarily driven by cloud top cooling that induces convective instability. Using a suite of in situ and remote sensing instruments we characterize turbulent mixing in Arctic stratocumulus, and for the first time we estimate profiles of the gradient Richardson number at relatively high resolution in both time (10 min) and altitude (10 m). It is found that the mixing occurs both within the cloud, as expected, and by wind shear instability near the surface. About 75% of the time these two layers are separated by a stably stratified inversion at 100-200 m altitude. Exceptions are associated with low cloud bases that allow the cloud-driven turbulence to reach the surface. The results imply that turbulent coupling between the surface and the cloud is sporadic or intermittent.

Plain Language Summary: The lower atmosphere over the summertime Arctic Ocean often consists of two well-mixed layers-a surface mixed layer and a cloud mixed layer-that are separated by a weak decoupling layer at about 100 to 300 m above the surface. In these cases, the cloud cannot interact directly with the surface. Large-scale forecast and climate models consistently fail to reproduce this observed structure and may thus fail to correctly reproduce the cloud properties and the amount of energy absorbed by or emitted from the surface as solar and infrared radiation. This contributes to errors in reproducing changes in sea ice concentration over time. Here we use measurements made in the central Arctic to study the processes controlling whether or not the cloud is coupled to the surface. The effect of wind at the surface is found not to be a controlling factor. The depth of the cloud mixed layer is critical, but the multiple processes influencing it cannot be separated using the data available here. However, cooling at cloud top by infrared radiation is key, as is the extension of cloud into the temperature inversion-a unique feature of Arctic clouds.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 122, no 18, 9685-9704 p.
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-151013DOI: 10.1002/2017JD027234ISI: 000416388000009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-151013DiVA: diva2:1172598
Available from: 2018-01-10 Created: 2018-01-10 Last updated: 2018-01-10Bibliographically approved

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