Evaluation of WRF Model Resolution on Simulated Mesoscale Winds and Surface Fluxes near Greenland

Alice K. DuVivier Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, and Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado

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John J. Cassano Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, and Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado

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Abstract

Southern Greenland has short-lived but frequently occurring strong mesoscale barrier winds and tip jets that form when synoptic-scale atmospheric features interact with the topography of Greenland. The influence of these mesoscale atmospheric events on the ocean, particularly deep ocean convection, is not yet well understood. Because obtaining observations is difficult in this region, model simulations are essential for understanding the interaction between the atmosphere and ocean during these wind events. This paper presents results from the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model simulations run at four different resolutions (100, 50, 25, and 10 km) and forced with the ECMWF Re-Analysis Interim (ERA-Interim) product. Case study comparisons between WRF output at different resolutions, observations from the Greenland Flow Distortion Experiment (GFDex), which provides valuable in situ observations of mesoscale winds, and Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT) satellite data highlight the importance of high-resolution simulations for properly capturing the structure and high wind speeds associated with mesoscale wind events and surface fluxes of latent and sensible heat. In addition, the longer-term impact of mesoscale winds on the ocean is investigated by comparison of surface fluxes and winds between model resolutions over a two-month period.

Corresponding author address: Alice K. Du Vivier, University of Colorado, 216 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309. E-mail: alice.duvivier@colorado.edu

Abstract

Southern Greenland has short-lived but frequently occurring strong mesoscale barrier winds and tip jets that form when synoptic-scale atmospheric features interact with the topography of Greenland. The influence of these mesoscale atmospheric events on the ocean, particularly deep ocean convection, is not yet well understood. Because obtaining observations is difficult in this region, model simulations are essential for understanding the interaction between the atmosphere and ocean during these wind events. This paper presents results from the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model simulations run at four different resolutions (100, 50, 25, and 10 km) and forced with the ECMWF Re-Analysis Interim (ERA-Interim) product. Case study comparisons between WRF output at different resolutions, observations from the Greenland Flow Distortion Experiment (GFDex), which provides valuable in situ observations of mesoscale winds, and Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT) satellite data highlight the importance of high-resolution simulations for properly capturing the structure and high wind speeds associated with mesoscale wind events and surface fluxes of latent and sensible heat. In addition, the longer-term impact of mesoscale winds on the ocean is investigated by comparison of surface fluxes and winds between model resolutions over a two-month period.

Corresponding author address: Alice K. Du Vivier, University of Colorado, 216 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309. E-mail: alice.duvivier@colorado.edu
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