Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-2020
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-2020
08 Jul 2024
 | 08 Jul 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Dynamical imprints on precipitation cluster statistics across a hierarchy of high-resolution simulations

Claudia Christine Stephan and Bjorn Stevens

Abstract. Tropical precipitation cluster area and intensity distributions follow power laws, but the physical processes responsible for this macroscopic behavior remain unknown.We analyze global simulations at ten-kilometer horizontal resolution that are configured to have drastically varying degrees of realism, ranging from global radiative-convective equilibrium to fully realistic atmospheric simulations, to investigate how dynamics influence precipitation statistics. We find the presence of stirring and large-scale vertical overturning, as associated with substantial planetary and synoptic-scale variability, to be key for having cluster statistics approach power laws. The presence of such large-scale dynamics is reflected in steep vertical velocity spectra. Large-scale rising and sinking modulate the column water vapor and temperature field, leading to a heterogeneous distribution of moist and dry patches and regions of strong mass flux, in which large precipitation clusters form. Our findings suggest that power laws in Earth’s precipitation cluster statistics stem from the robust power laws of atmospheric motions.

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Claudia Christine Stephan and Bjorn Stevens

Status: open (until 19 Aug 2024)

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Claudia Christine Stephan and Bjorn Stevens
Claudia Christine Stephan and Bjorn Stevens

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Short summary
Tropical precipitation cluster area and intensity distributions follow power laws, but the physical processes responsible for this behavior remain unknown. We analyze global simulations that realistically represent precipitation processes. We consider Earth-like planets as well as virtual planets to realize different types of large-scale dynamics. Our finding is that power laws in Earth’s precipitation cluster statistics stem from the robust power laws in Earth’s atmospheric wind field.