Momentum Transport in Organized Shallow Cumulus Convection

Alessandro C.M. Savazzi*, Louise Nuijens, Wim De Rooy, Martin Janssens, A. Pier Siebesma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Downloads (Pure)


This study investigates momentum transport in shallow cumulus clouds as simulated with the Dutch Atmospheric Large Eddy Simulation (DALES) for a 150 3 150 km2 domain east of Barbados during 9 days of EUREC4A. DALES is initialized and forced with the mesoscale weather model HARMONIE-AROME and subjectively reproduces observed cloud patterns. This study examines the evolution of momentum transport, which scales contribute to it, and how they modulate the trade winds. Daily-mean momentum flux profiles show downgradient zonal momentum transport in the subcloud layer, which turns countergradient in the cloud layer. The meridional momentum transport is nontrivial, with mostly downgradient transport throughout the trade wind layer except near the top of the surface layer and near cloud tops. Substantial spatial and temporal heterogeneity in momentum flux is observed with much stronger tendencies imposed in areas of organized convection. The study finds that while scales < 2 km dominate momentum flux at 200 m in unorganized fields, submesoscales O(2-20) km carry up to 50% of the zonal momentum flux in the cloud layer in organized fields. For the meridional momentum flux, this fraction is even larger near the surface and in the subcloud layer. The scale dependence of the momentum flux is not explained by changes in convective or boundary layer depth. Instead, the results suggest the importance of spatial heterogeneity, increasing horizontal length scales, and countergradient transport in the presence of organized convection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-296
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Convective parameterization
  • Convective-scale processes
  • Large eddy simulations
  • Mesoscale processes
  • Momentum
  • Subtropics


Dive into the research topics of 'Momentum Transport in Organized Shallow Cumulus Convection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this