Cloud droplets growth due to supersaturation fluctuations in stratiform clouds

Nordita Astrophysics seminars

Wednesday 15 August 2018
from 13:25
to 14:00 at
112:028

Speaker :

Xiang-Yu Li (Nordita & MISU)

Abstract :

Condensational growth of cloud droplets due to supersaturation fluctuations is investigated by solving the hydrodynamic and thermodynamic equations using direct numerical simulations with droplets being modeled as Lagrangian particles. We find that the width of droplet size distributions increases with time, which is contrary to the classical theory without supersaturation fluctuations, where condensational growth leads to progressively narrower size distributions. Nevertheless, in agreement with earlier Lagrangian stochastic models of the condensational growth, the standard deviation of the surface area of droplets increases as t^(1/2) . Also, we numerically confirm that the time evolution of the size distribution depends strongly on the Reynolds number and only weakly on the mean energy dissipation rate. This is shown to be due to the fact that temperature fluctuations and water vapor mixing ratio fluctuations increases with increasing Reynolds number, therefore the resulting supersaturation fluctuations are enhanced with increasing Reynolds number. Our simulations may explain the broadening of the size distribution in stratiform clouds qualitatively, where the updraft velocity is almost zero.