Kardar-parisi-zhang scaling of the height of the convective boundary layer and fractal structure of cumulus cloud fields

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Abstract

We present the cumulative frequency-area distribution of tropical cumulus clouds as observed from satellite and space shuttle images from scales of 0.1 to 1000 km. The distribution is a power-law function of area with exponent −0.8. We show that this result and the fractal dimension of cloud perimeters implies that the top of the convective boundary layer (CBL) is a self-affine interface with roughness exponent or Hausdorff measure H ≈, the same value as that of the Kardar-Parisi-Zhang equation in 2 + 1 dimensions. In addition, we identify dynamic scaling in a time series of the local altitude of the top of the CBL as measured with FM/CW radar backscatter intensity. A possible growth model is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2672-2675
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical review letters
Volume78
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 31 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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