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Keywords:

  • radiation fog;
  • large-eddy simulation;
  • Meso-NH

Abstract

In order to study the small-scale structure of radition fog, large-eddy simulations (LESs) of a fog case are analysed. The LESs were performed at very high resolution –2 m in the horizontal and 1 m in the vertical. Despite uncertainties in the measurements, particularly for advection, the main characteristics of the fog layer were well captured by the model. Radiation fog forms in statically stable stratification near the ground. During the formation phase, small stripes occur in the middle of the fog layer, associated with a significant burst in the turbulent kinetic energy (TKE). During the development phase, the dynamics of the fog layer change significantly. The maximum of the variance moves to the top of the fog layer where horizontal rolls appear clearly. These eddies have their centre near the mean top of the fog layer and have a depth corresponding to about one third of the fog layer height. This leads to a maximum of TKE at the top of fog, and to very strong scatter on the liquid water content. The energy is clearly produced at a length-scale corresponding to the fog height. The turbulence is 3D homogeneous inside the fog layer, while it is better characterized by 2D turbulence near the top. During the dissipation phase, the radiative heating of the surface increases the convective structure of the fog. The dissipation of fog at ground level takes a long time (about 2 h), even if the soil conditions are homogeneous. The top of the stratus layer is homogeneous, while the spread of the base height reaches a value typical of the cloud thickness. Copyright © 2012 Royal Meteorological Society