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Influences of Ice Crystal Number Concentrations and Habits on Arctic Mixed-Phase Cloud Dynamics

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Mixed-phase clouds are frequently present in the Arctic atmosphere, and strongly affect the surface energy budget. In this study, the influences of ice crystal number concentrations and crystal growth habits on the Arctic mixed-phase cloud microphysics and dynamics are investigated for internally and externally driven cloud systems using an eddy-resolving model. Separate simulations are performed with increasing ice concentrations and different ice crystal habits. It is found that the habit influence on cloud microphysics and dynamics is as pronounced as increasing the ice crystal concentrations for internally driven clouds and more dominant for externally driven clouds. Habit influence can lead to a 10 % reduction in surface incident longwave radiation flux. Sensitivity tests are performed to identify the interactions between processes affecting cloud dynamics that allow for persistent clouds (i.e., the radiative cooling at cloud top, ice precipitation stabilization at cloud-base). When cloud-base stabilization influences of ice precipitation are weak, cloud dynamics is more sensitive to radiative cooling. Additional sensitivity simulations are done with increasing surface latent and sensible heat fluxes to identify the influences of external forcing on cloud dynamics. It is found that the magnitude of cloud circulations for an externally driven cloud system with strong precipitation and weak surface fluxes is similar to a weakly precipitating, optically thick, internally driven cloud. For cloud systems with intense ice precipitation obtained through either increasing ice crystal concentrations or assuming ice crystal shapes that grow rapidly and fall fast, the cloud layer may collapse despite the moistening effect of surface fluxes.

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M. Komurcu would like to thank Jerry Y. Harrington, Johannes Verlinde and Eugene E. Clothiaux for treasured discussions and Alexander E. Avramov and Jonathan L. Petters for assistance with RAMS.

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Komurcu, M. Influences of Ice Crystal Number Concentrations and Habits on Arctic Mixed-Phase Cloud Dynamics. Pure Appl. Geophys. 173, 3125–3140 (2016).

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