, Volume 92, Issue 3, pp 453-487

Intercomparison of Three- and one-Dimensional Model Simulations and Aircraft Observations of Stratocumulus

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


As part of the EUropean Cloud REsolving Modelling (EUCREM) model intercomparison project we compared the properties and development of stratocumulus as revealed by actual observations and as derived from two types of models, namely three-dimensional Large Eddy Simulations (LES) and one-dimensional Single Column Models (SCMs). The turbulence, microphysical and radiation properties were obtained from observations made in solid stratocumulus during the third flight of the first 'Lagrangian' experiment of the Atlantic Stratocumulus Transition Experiment (ASTEX). The goal of the intercomparison was to study the turbulence and microphysical properties of a stratocumulus layer with specified initial and boundary conditions.

The LES models predict an entrainment velocity which is significantly larger than estimated from observations. Because the observed value contains a large experimental uncertainty no definitive conclusions can be drawn from this. The LES modelled buoyancy flux agrees rather well with the observed values, which indicates that the intensity of the convection is modelled correctly. From LES it was concluded that the inclusion of drizzle had a small influence (about 10%) on the buoyancy flux. All SCMs predict a solid stratocumulus layer with the correct liquid water profile. However, the buoyancy flux profile is poorly represented in these models. From the comparison with observations it is clear that there is considerable uncertainty in the parametrization of drizzle in both SCM and LES.