The Effect of the Sea-ice Zone on the Development of Boundary-layer Roll Clouds During Cold Air Outbreaks
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High latitude air–sea interaction is an important component of the earth’s climate system and the exchanges of mass and energy over the sea-ice zone are complicated processes that, at present, are not well understood. In this paper, we perform a series of numerical experiments to examine the effect of sea-ice concentration on the development of high latitude boundary-layer roll clouds. The experiments are performed at sufficiently high spatial resolution to be able to resolve the individual convective roll clouds, and over a large enough domain to be able to examine the roll’s downstream development. Furthermore the high spatial resolution of the experiments allows for an explicit representation of heterogeneity within the sea-ice zone. The results show that the sea-ice zone has a significant impact on the atmospheric boundary-layer development, which can be seen in both the evolution of the cloud field and the development of heat and moisture transfer patterns. In particular, we find the air-sea exchanges of momentum, moisture and heat fluxes are modified by the presence of the roll vortices (typically a 10% difference in surface heat fluxes between updrafts and downdrafts) and by the concentration and spatial distribution of the sea-ice. This suggests that a more realistic representation of processes over the sea-ice zone is needed to properly calculate the air-sea energy and mass exchange budgets.
KeywordsAir–sea interaction Boundary layer Cold air outbreaks Numerical modelling Roll clouds Sea-ice zone
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