Large-eddy simulations of EUCLIPSE-GASS lagrangian stratocumulus-to-cumulus transitions: Mean state, turbulence, and decoupling

Stephan R. de Roode*, Irina Sandu, Johan J. van der Dussen, Andrew S. Ackerman, Peter Blossey, Dorota Jarecka, Adrian Lock, A. Pier Siebesma, Bjorn Stevens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Results of four Lagrangian stratocumulus-to-shallow-cumulus transition cases as obtained from six different large-eddy simulation models are presented. The model output is remarkably consistent in terms of the representation of the evolution of the mean state, which is characterized by a stratocumulus cloud layer that rises with time and that warms and dries relative to the subcloud layer. Also, the effect of the diurnal insolation on cloud-top entrainment and the moisture flux at the top of the subcloud layer are consistently captured by the models. For some cases, the models diverge in terms of the liquid water path (LWP) during nighttime, which can be explained from the difference in the sign of the buoyancy flux at cloud base. If the subcloud buoyancy fluxes are positive, turbulence sustains a vertically well-mixed layer, causing a cloud layer that is relatively cold and moist and consequently has a high LWP. After some simulation time, all cases exhibit subcloud-layer dynamics that appear to be similar to those of the dry convective boundary layer. The humidity flux from the subcloud layer toward the stratocumulus cloud layer, which is one of the major sources of stratocumulus cloud liquid water, is larger during the night than during the day. The sensible heat flux becomes constant in time, whereas the latent heat flux tends to increase during the transition. These findings are explained from a budget analysis of the subcloud layer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2485-2508
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • Atm/ocean structure/phenomena
  • Atmosphere-ocean interaction
  • Boundary layer
  • Cumulus clouds
  • Diurnal effects
  • Mixed layer
  • Stratiform clouds


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