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Title: Cumulus-Type Flows in the Laboratory and on the Computer: Simulating Cloud Form, Evolution, and Large-Scale Structure
Authors: Diwan, Sourabh S.
Prasanth, P.
Sreenivas, K. R.
Deshpande, S. M.
Narasimha, Roddam
Keywords: Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: American Meteorological Society
Citation: Diwan, SS; Prasanth, P; Sreenivas, KR; Deshpande, SM; Narasimha, R, Cumulus-Type Flows in the Laboratory and on the Computer Simulating Cloud Form, Evolution, and Large-Scale Structure. Bulletin of The American Meteorological Society 2014, 95 (10) 1541-1548,
Bulletin of The American Meteorological Society
Abstract: Cumulus clouds, which are among the largest sources of uncertainty in climate change science and tropical circulation, have to-date resisted the numerous attempts made during the last six decades to unravel their cloud-scale dynamics. One major reason has been the lack of a convincing fluid-dynamical model and the difficulty of making repeatable measurements in an inherently transient flow. This article summarizes recent work showing that cumulus-type f lows can be generated in the laboratory by releasing volumetric heat into a plume above a height analogous to cloud condensation level and in quantities dynamically similar to the release of latent heat in the natural cloud. Such a transient diabatic plume (TDP) seems to mimic cumulus clouds with adiabatic/pseudoadiabatic processes of latent heat release. With appropriate heating profile histories, the TDP simulates a variety of cumulus-cloud forms, from cumulus congestus to cumulus fractus, and permits tracking their evolution through a complete life cycle. Selected examples of such laboratory simulations are supported by preliminary results from direct numerical simulations based on the Navier-Stokes-Boussinesq equations. These simulations suggest that the baroclinic torque plays an important role in the dynamics of both large- and small-scale motions in cloud-type flows.
Description: Restricted Access
Appears in Collections:Research Articles (Roddam Narasimha)
Research Articles (Sreenivas K. R.)

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