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Journal Article

DNS and LES for simulating stratocumulus: Better together


Mellado,  Juan-Pedro
Max Planck Research Group Turbulent Mixing Processes in the Earth System, The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;


Stevens,  Bjorn       
Director’s Research Group AES, The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Mellado, J.-P., Bretherton, C., Stevens, B., & Wyant, M. (2018). DNS and LES for simulating stratocumulus: Better together. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 10, 1421-1438. doi:10.1029/2018MS001312.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-53DE-8
We argue that combining direct numerical simulation (DNS) with large-eddy simulation (LES) and field studies could accelerate current lines of stratocumulus research. LES allows for a faster and more holistic study of the parameter space, but LES is sensitive to details of its formulation because the energetics are tied to unresolved processes in the cloud-top region. One way to assess this sensitivity is through field studies. Another way is through DNS. In particular, DNS can be used to test the hypothesis that LES, even with an inadequate representation of the physics of cloud-top entrainment, properly quantifies the sensitivity of cloud-topped boundary layers to changing environmental conditions. We support this argument by contrasting theoretical aspects of both techniques, by presenting first DNS results of a stratocumulus-topped boundary layer and discussing their convergence towards Reynolds number similarity, and by showing the consistency of DNS results with LES results and field measurements.