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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-399
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-399
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 20 May 2019

Research article | 20 May 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

The roles of island size and orography on tropical convection and aerosol transport

Stacey Kawecki and Susan van den Heever Stacey Kawecki and Susan van den Heever
  • Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA

Abstract. This study investigates the impact of island diameter size and orographic height on precipitation, convective organization and aerosol transport on and around tropical islands. Twenty-four model simulations are set up and run, in which the island diameter (50 km, 100 km, and 200 km) and peak orographic height (flat, 500 m, 1 km, and 2 km) are independently and simultaneously varied under weak and strong zonal wind regimes. In these simulations, unlike many of the previous island flow investigations, the full three-dimensional flow over and around islands is resolved. Analysis of these numerical experiments demonstrates that island orographic height is a stronger control than island size on precipitation, convective organization, and aerosol redistribution. The wind regime is found to modulate these results. Under the strong zonal wind regime, increasing orographic height induces changes to the flow around the island, leading to lee-vortex formation, reverse flow, and the earlier development of deep convection than in the flat simulation. In the weaker zonal wind experiment, increasing orographic height enhances the role of radiational heating, leading to enhanced upslope flow and stronger convergence, which produces earlier deep convection than in the flat simulation. The timing and location of the sea breeze/mountain breeze convergence determines the location of the initial vertical aerosol mixing with cloud formation and entrainment, whereas the timing of deep convection formation dictates how quickly the aerosols are mixed out of the boundary layer. Finally, it is demonstrated that cold pools play an important role in the propagation of convection towards the shore in the simulations with orography.

Stacey Kawecki and Susan van den Heever
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Status: open (until 26 Jul 2019)
Status: open (until 26 Jul 2019)
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Stacey Kawecki and Susan van den Heever
Stacey Kawecki and Susan van den Heever
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Latest update: 20 Jun 2019
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Short summary
This work examines how the topographic height and diameter of an island influence where and when precipitation falls, and why these patterns change. Using a numerical weather model, we systematically increased island orographic heights and diameters. We find that increasing orography increases precipitation amounts, regardless of island diameter size. Precipitation increases because changing the topography alters where moisture and lift occur, which are the prime ingredients for precipitation.
This work examines how the topographic height and diameter of an island influence where and when...
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