Abstract

The performance of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model is evaluated in predicting the meteorological conditions over a complex open-pit mining facility in northern Canada in support of more accurate operational reporting of area-fugitive greenhouse gas emission fluxes from such facilities. WRF is studied in a series of sensitivity tests by varying topography, land use, and horizontal and vertical grid spacings to arrive at optimum configurations for reducing modeling biases in comparison with field meteorological observations. Overall, WRF shows a better performance when accounting for the mine topography and modified land use. As a result, the model biases reduce from 1.10 to 0.08 m s−1, from 1.04 to 0.50 m s−1, from 0.98 to 0.32 K, and from 45.7 to 17.3 W m−2, for near-surface wind speed, boundary layer wind speed, near-surface potential temperature, and turbulent sensible heat flux, respectively. Refining the model horizontal and vertical grid spacings results in bias reductions from 3.31 to 0.08 and from 0.80 to −0.11 m s−1 for near-surface and boundary layer wind speeds, respectively. The simulation results also agree with previous observations of meteorological effects on enclosed Earth depressions, characterized by formation of a cool pool of air, reduced wind speeds, and horizontal wind circulations at the bottom of the depression under thermally stable conditions. The results suggest that such configurations for WRF are necessary to arrive at more accurate meteorological predictions over complex open-pit mining terrains with similar features.

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