pure and applied geophysics

, Volume 118, Issue 2, pp 720–742

A new aspect of condensation theory

  • James W. Telford
  • Steven K. Chai

DOI: 10.1007/BF01593025

Cite this article as:
Telford, J.W. & Chai, S.K. PAGEOPH (1980) 118: 720. doi:10.1007/BF01593025


This paper examines the effects of the mixing of dry air into a cloud top from the point of view of the droplet spectra. It is shown theoretically that the resulting cycling of the air up and down in the cloud, as seems to be the essential mechanism by which cumuli have been diluted to their observed liquid water mixing ratio, can double the largest drop radius and generate cloud parcels containing drops of all sizes up to this maximum. These changes in the droplet distribution with size occur by a process which is not greatly influenced by the cloud condensation nuclei or the details of droplet growth since ‘maritime’ like spectra can develop in ‘continental’ type cumuli. It shows that large numbers of cloud condensation nuclei should not have much effect in inhibiting the rainforming process by reducing coalescence growth. On the contrary, the controlling parameters which determine precipitation efficiency and times seem to be those which control the mixing.

Key words

CondensationEffect of entrainment onCloud drops, condensation of

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • James W. Telford
  • Steven K. Chai
    • 1
  1. 1.Atmospheric Sciences Center. Desert Research InstituteUniversity of Nevada SystemRenoUSA