Neil Laird, assistant professor in the Department of Geoscience, published an article in the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences that helps provide a better understanding of humidity halos in the vicinity of tropical cumulus clouds. The study uses a large dataset of aircraft measurements collected during a field project conducted over Cape Canaveral, Fla.
The environment in which cumulus clouds grow is continuously modified by transport of energy, moisture and aerosol from below cloud base to the detrainment regions of clouds. The study observed significant enhancements to humidity, above that in the undisturbed, ambient environment, in the near-cloud regions. These regions of enhanced humidity surrounding clouds are referred to as humidity halos.
Information regarding humidity halos is applicable to investigations of cloud edge mixing, cloud radiative properties, cumulus exchange with the large-scale ambient environment, and cloud impact on subsequent particle and cloud formation.