Physical Mechanism for the Tallahassee, Florida, Minimum Temperature Anomaly

A. Birol Kara Department of Meteorology, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

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James B. Elsner Department of Meteorology, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

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Paul H. Ruscher Department of Meteorology, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

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Abstract

Nighttime minimum temperatures at the Tallahassee Regional Airport (TLH) are colder in comparison with surrounding locations and other parts of the city, especially during the cool season (TLH minimum temperature anomaly). These cold events are examined using the one-dimensional Oregon State University atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) model including a two-layer model of soil hydrology. The model is used for 12-h forecasts of the ABL parameters, such as surface fluxes, surface inversion height, and minimum temperature when clear, calm synoptic conditions existed over the region at night. The minimum temperature forecasts are performed at TLH and a nearby location. Cooling in the surface inversion layer is examined in terms of turbulence and clear-air radiative effects, and it is confirmed that the lower temperatures at TLH are related to the clear-air radiative cooling even in the lower part of the inversion layer but not to cold-air drainage. Stability, ABL height, and surface inversion height are examined with respect to a potential temperature curvature. Turbulent exchanges in the surface boundary layer are also taken into account. The model is able to simulate the nocturnal evolution of air temperatures well. Besides the soil moisture, the value of the roughness length momentum has a substantial effect on temperature forecasts in the model. The best overall agreement for the minimum temperature prediction over TLH is obtained using equal values for the roughness lengths of heat and momentum. Finally, use of the ABL model with its surface energy balance and crude radiative parameterization package under negligible synoptic-scale forcing can be valuable to a forecaster in predicting the daily maximum temperature drop.

Corresponding author address: A. Birol Kara, Department of Meteorology, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4520.

birol@met.fsu.edu

Abstract

Nighttime minimum temperatures at the Tallahassee Regional Airport (TLH) are colder in comparison with surrounding locations and other parts of the city, especially during the cool season (TLH minimum temperature anomaly). These cold events are examined using the one-dimensional Oregon State University atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) model including a two-layer model of soil hydrology. The model is used for 12-h forecasts of the ABL parameters, such as surface fluxes, surface inversion height, and minimum temperature when clear, calm synoptic conditions existed over the region at night. The minimum temperature forecasts are performed at TLH and a nearby location. Cooling in the surface inversion layer is examined in terms of turbulence and clear-air radiative effects, and it is confirmed that the lower temperatures at TLH are related to the clear-air radiative cooling even in the lower part of the inversion layer but not to cold-air drainage. Stability, ABL height, and surface inversion height are examined with respect to a potential temperature curvature. Turbulent exchanges in the surface boundary layer are also taken into account. The model is able to simulate the nocturnal evolution of air temperatures well. Besides the soil moisture, the value of the roughness length momentum has a substantial effect on temperature forecasts in the model. The best overall agreement for the minimum temperature prediction over TLH is obtained using equal values for the roughness lengths of heat and momentum. Finally, use of the ABL model with its surface energy balance and crude radiative parameterization package under negligible synoptic-scale forcing can be valuable to a forecaster in predicting the daily maximum temperature drop.

Corresponding author address: A. Birol Kara, Department of Meteorology, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4520.

birol@met.fsu.edu

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