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An Evaluation of a Diagnostic Wind Model (CALMET)

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  • 1 Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington
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Abstract

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved diagnostic wind model [California Meteorological Model (CALMET)] was evaluated during a typical lake-breeze event under fair weather conditions in the Chicago region. The authors focused on the performance of CALMET in terms of simulating winds that were highly variable in space and time. The reference winds were generated by the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model (MM5) assimilating system, with which CALMET results were compared. Statistical evaluations were conducted to quantify overall model differences in wind speed and direction over the domain. Below 850 m above the surface, relative differences in (layer averaged) wind speed were about 25%–40% during the simulation period; wind direction differences generally ranged from 6° to 20°. Above 850 m, the differences became larger because of the limited number of upper-air stations near the studied domain. Analyses implied that model differences were dependent on time because of time-dependent spatial variability in winds. Trajectory analyses were made to examine the likely spatial dependence of CALMET deviations from the reference winds within the domain. These analyses suggest that the quality of CALMET winds in local areas depended on their proximity to the lake-breeze front position. Large deviations usually occurred near the front area, where observations cannot resolve the spatial variability of wind, or in the fringe of the domain, where observations are lacking. Results simulated using different datasets and model options were also compared. Differences between CALMET and the reference winds tended to be reduced with data sampled from more stations or from more uniformly distributed stations. Suggestions are offered for further improving or interpreting CALMET results under complex wind conditions in the Chicago region, which may also apply to other regions.

Corresponding author address: Weiguo Wang, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, K9-30, Richland, WA 99352. Email: weiguo.wang@pnl.gov

Abstract

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved diagnostic wind model [California Meteorological Model (CALMET)] was evaluated during a typical lake-breeze event under fair weather conditions in the Chicago region. The authors focused on the performance of CALMET in terms of simulating winds that were highly variable in space and time. The reference winds were generated by the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model (MM5) assimilating system, with which CALMET results were compared. Statistical evaluations were conducted to quantify overall model differences in wind speed and direction over the domain. Below 850 m above the surface, relative differences in (layer averaged) wind speed were about 25%–40% during the simulation period; wind direction differences generally ranged from 6° to 20°. Above 850 m, the differences became larger because of the limited number of upper-air stations near the studied domain. Analyses implied that model differences were dependent on time because of time-dependent spatial variability in winds. Trajectory analyses were made to examine the likely spatial dependence of CALMET deviations from the reference winds within the domain. These analyses suggest that the quality of CALMET winds in local areas depended on their proximity to the lake-breeze front position. Large deviations usually occurred near the front area, where observations cannot resolve the spatial variability of wind, or in the fringe of the domain, where observations are lacking. Results simulated using different datasets and model options were also compared. Differences between CALMET and the reference winds tended to be reduced with data sampled from more stations or from more uniformly distributed stations. Suggestions are offered for further improving or interpreting CALMET results under complex wind conditions in the Chicago region, which may also apply to other regions.

Corresponding author address: Weiguo Wang, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, K9-30, Richland, WA 99352. Email: weiguo.wang@pnl.gov

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