Cumulus Cloud Energetics as Revealed in a Numerical Model of Cloud Dynamics

by Lloyd Randall Koenig, Francis W. Murray

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Investigates the effects of cumulus clouds on the temporal and spatial characteristics of atmospheric energy content. Changes in energy content of the cloud environment and the flux of energy are shown as functions of height and radial distance from the cloud axis. Energy related to water vapor accounts for most of the energy change in the cloud's vicinity. In the outer region, changes in water-vapor enthalpy are counterbalanced by changes in dry-air enthalpy, but potential energy change dominates. The total energy used in attempting to decrease conditional atmospheric instability is given by the total amount of energy produced by the condensate formed, regardless of whether it falls as rain. The study presents data which, together with reasonable assumptions about the natural occurrence of cloud cells, lead to an estimated relaxation time of convection of about ten hours. (See also R-852, R-877, R-1005, R-1415, R-1429.)

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