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A Closure for Updraft–Downdraft Representation of Subgrid-Scale Fluxes in Cloud-Resolving Models

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  • 1 National Center for Atmospheric Research,* Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

A closure relationship between subgrid-scale (SGS) updraft–downdraft differences and resolvable-scale (RS) variables is proposed and tested for cloud-resolving models (CRMs), based on a data analysis of a large-eddy simulation (LES) of deep convection. The LES flow field is partitioned into CRM-RS and CRM-SGS using a cutoff scale that corresponds to a typical CRM grid resolution. This study first demonstrates the capability of an updraft–downdraft model framework in representing the SGS fluxes of heat, moisture, and momentum over the entire deep convection layer. It then formulates a closure scheme to relate SGS updraft–downdraft differences to horizontal gradients of RS variables. The closure is based on the idea that largest SGS and smallest RS motions are spectrally linked and hence their horizontal fluctuations must be strongly communicated. This relation leads to an SGS scheme that expresses vertical SGS fluxes in terms of horizontal gradients of RS variables, which differs from conventional downgradient eddy diffusivity models. The new scheme is shown to better represent the forward and backscatter energy transfer between CRM-RS and CRM-SGS components than conventional eddy-viscosity models.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Corresponding author address: Chin-Hoh Moeng, MMM Division, NCAR, Boulder, CO 80307-3000. E-mail: moeng@ucar.edu

Abstract

A closure relationship between subgrid-scale (SGS) updraft–downdraft differences and resolvable-scale (RS) variables is proposed and tested for cloud-resolving models (CRMs), based on a data analysis of a large-eddy simulation (LES) of deep convection. The LES flow field is partitioned into CRM-RS and CRM-SGS using a cutoff scale that corresponds to a typical CRM grid resolution. This study first demonstrates the capability of an updraft–downdraft model framework in representing the SGS fluxes of heat, moisture, and momentum over the entire deep convection layer. It then formulates a closure scheme to relate SGS updraft–downdraft differences to horizontal gradients of RS variables. The closure is based on the idea that largest SGS and smallest RS motions are spectrally linked and hence their horizontal fluctuations must be strongly communicated. This relation leads to an SGS scheme that expresses vertical SGS fluxes in terms of horizontal gradients of RS variables, which differs from conventional downgradient eddy diffusivity models. The new scheme is shown to better represent the forward and backscatter energy transfer between CRM-RS and CRM-SGS components than conventional eddy-viscosity models.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Corresponding author address: Chin-Hoh Moeng, MMM Division, NCAR, Boulder, CO 80307-3000. E-mail: moeng@ucar.edu
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