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A Single Column Model Evaluation of Mixing Length Formulations and Constraints for the sa-TKE-EDMF Planetary Boundary Layer Parameterization

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  • 1 IMSG at NOAA/NWS/NCEP/EMC, College Park, MD, USA
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Abstract

Parameterizing boundary layer turbulence is a critical component of numerical weather prediction and the representation of turbulent mixing of momentum, heat, and other tracers. The components that make up a boundary layer scheme can vary considerably, with each scheme having a combination of processes that are physically represented along with tuning parameters that optimize performance. Isolating a component of a PBL scheme to examine its impact is essential for understanding the evolution of boundary layer profiles and their impact on the mean structure. In this study we conduct three experiments with the scale-aware TKE eddy-diffusivity mass-flux (sa-TKE-EDMF) scheme: 1) releasing the upper limit constraints placed on mixing lengths, 2) incrementally adjusting the tuning coefficient related to wind shear in the modified Bougeault and Lacarrere (BouLac) mixing length formulation, and 3) replacing the current mixing length formulations with those used in the MYNN scheme. A diagnostic approach is adopted to characterize the bulk representation of turbulence within the residual layer and boundary layer in order to understand the importance of different terms in the TKE budget as well as to assess how the balance of terms changes between mixing length formulations. Although our study does not seek to determine the best formulation, it was found that strong imbalances led to considerably different profile structures both in terms of the resolved and subgrid fields. Experiments where this balance was preserved showed a minor impact on the mean structure regardless of the turbulence generated. Overall, it was found that changes to mixing length formulations and/or constraints had stronger impacts during the day while remaining partially insensitive during the evening.

Corresponding author: Edward J. Strobach, edward.strobach@noaa.gov

Abstract

Parameterizing boundary layer turbulence is a critical component of numerical weather prediction and the representation of turbulent mixing of momentum, heat, and other tracers. The components that make up a boundary layer scheme can vary considerably, with each scheme having a combination of processes that are physically represented along with tuning parameters that optimize performance. Isolating a component of a PBL scheme to examine its impact is essential for understanding the evolution of boundary layer profiles and their impact on the mean structure. In this study we conduct three experiments with the scale-aware TKE eddy-diffusivity mass-flux (sa-TKE-EDMF) scheme: 1) releasing the upper limit constraints placed on mixing lengths, 2) incrementally adjusting the tuning coefficient related to wind shear in the modified Bougeault and Lacarrere (BouLac) mixing length formulation, and 3) replacing the current mixing length formulations with those used in the MYNN scheme. A diagnostic approach is adopted to characterize the bulk representation of turbulence within the residual layer and boundary layer in order to understand the importance of different terms in the TKE budget as well as to assess how the balance of terms changes between mixing length formulations. Although our study does not seek to determine the best formulation, it was found that strong imbalances led to considerably different profile structures both in terms of the resolved and subgrid fields. Experiments where this balance was preserved showed a minor impact on the mean structure regardless of the turbulence generated. Overall, it was found that changes to mixing length formulations and/or constraints had stronger impacts during the day while remaining partially insensitive during the evening.

Corresponding author: Edward J. Strobach, edward.strobach@noaa.gov
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