Aircraft Observations of Turbulence in Cloudy and Cloud-Free Boundary Layers Over the Western North Atlantic Ocean From ACTIVATE and Implications for the Earth System Model Evaluation and Development

Michael A. Brunke, Lauren Cutler, Rodrigo Delgado Urzua, Andrea F. Corral, Ewan Crosbie, Johnathan Hair, Chris Hostetler, Simon Kirschler, Vincent Larson, Xiang Yu Li, Po Lun Ma, Annalisa Minke, Richard Moore, Claire E. Robinson, Amy Jo Scarino, Joseph Schlosser, Michael Shook, Armin Sorooshian, Kenneth Lee Thornhill, Christiane VoigtHui Wan, Hailong Wang, Edward Winstead, Xubin Zeng, Shixuan Zhang, Luke D. Ziemba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examines boundary layer turbulence derived from high temporal resolution meteorological measurements from 40 research flights over the western North Atlantic Ocean during the 2020 deployments of ACTIVATE. Frequency distributions of various turbulent quantities reveal stronger turbulence during the winter deployment than in summer and for cloud-topped than in cloud-free boundary layers during the summer deployment. Maximum turbulence kinetic energy (TKE) is most often within cloud from observations in winter and summer, whereas it is mostly below cloud in both seasons by a global model turbulence parameterization. Bivariate frequency distributions are consistent with the bivariate Gaussian probability distribution functions assumed for the closure of higher-order turbulence/shallow convection parameterizations used by some global models. Turbulence simulated by the Community Atmosphere Model version 6 and the Energy Exascale Earth System Model Atmosphere Model version 2 using such parameterizations is not as strong as observed, with more TKE going into vertical wind perturbations rather than into zonal wind perturbations as observed, suggesting that the treatment of turbulence in Earth system models still needs to be further improved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2022JD036480
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Volume127
Issue number19
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 16 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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