Motivated by the need to resolve the condensation-coalescence bottleneck in warm rain formation, a significant number of studies have emerged in the past 15 years concerning the growth of cloud droplets by water-vapor diffusion and by collision-coalescence in a turbulent environment. With regard to condensation, recent studies suggest that small-scale turbulence alone does not produce a significant broadening of the cloud-droplet spectrum because of the smearing of droplet-scale fluctuations by rapid turbulent and gravitational mixing. However, different diffusional-growth histories associated with large-eddy hopping could lead to a significant spectral broadening. In contrast, small-scale turbulence in cumulus clouds makes a significant contribution to the collision-coalescence of droplets, enhancing the collection kernel up to a factor of 5, especially for droplet pairs with a low gravitational collision rate. This moderate level of enhancement has a significant impact on warm rain initiation. The multiscale nature of turbulent cloud microphysical processes and open research issues are delineated throughout.

[Erratum, Closure]

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Growth of Cloud Droplets in a Turbulent Environment

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  • Article Type: Review Article
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