Anvil glaciation in a deep cumulus updraught over Florida simulated with the Explicit Microphysics Model. I: Impact of various nucleation processes

Vaughan T.J. Phillips, Constantin Andronache, Steven C. Sherwood, Aaron Bansemer, William C. Conant, Paul J. Demott, Richard C. Flagan, Andy Heymsfield, Haflidi Jonsson, Micheal Poellot, Tracey A. Rissman, John H. Seinfeld, Tim Vanreken, Varuntida Varutbangkul, James C. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Simulations of a cumulonimbus cloud observed in the Cirrus Regional Study of Tropical Anvils and Cirrus Layers-Florida Area Cirrus Experiment (CRYSTAL-FACE) with an advanced version of the Explicit Microphysics Model (EMM) are presented. The EMM has size-resolved aerosols and predicts the time evolution of sizes, bulk densities and axial ratios of ice particles. Observations by multiple aircraft in the troposphere provide inputs to the model, including observations of the ice nuclei and of the entire size distribution of condensation nuclei. Homogeneous droplet freezing is found to be the source of almost all of the ice crystals in the anvil updraught of this particular model cloud. Most of the simulated droplets that freeze to form anvil crystals appear to be nucleated by activation of aerosols far above cloud base in the interior of the cloud ('secondary' or 'in-cloud' droplet nucleation). This is partly because primary droplets formed at cloud base are invariably depleted by accretion before they can reach the anvil base in the updraught, which promotes an increase with height of the average supersaturation in the updraught aloft. More than half of these aerosols, activated far above cloud base, are entrained into the updraught of this model cloud from the lateral environment above about 5 km above mean sea level. This confirms the importance of remote sources of atmospheric aerosol for anvil glaciation. Other nucleation processes impinge indirectly upon the anvil glaciation by modifying the concentration of supercooled droplets in the upper levels of the mixed-phase region. For instance, the warm-rain process produces a massive indirect impact on the anvil crystal concentration, because it determines the mass of precipitation forming in the updraught. It competes with homogeneous freezing as a sink for cloud droplets. The effects from turbulent enhancement of the warm-rain process and from other nucleation processes on the anvil ice properties are assessed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2019-2046
Number of pages28
JournalQuarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
Issue number609
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • Aerosol particles
  • Homogeneous aerosol freezing
  • Secondary droplet nucleation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Anvil glaciation in a deep cumulus updraught over Florida simulated with the Explicit Microphysics Model. I: Impact of various nucleation processes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this