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Françoise Guichard
,
David B. Parsons
,
Jimy Dudhia
, and
James Bresch

Abstract

This study evaluates the predictions of radiative and cloud-related processes of the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research (PSU–NCAR) Mesoscale Model (MM5). It is based on extensive comparison of three-dimensional forecast runs with local data from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) site collected at the Central Facility in Lamont, Oklahoma, over a seasonal timescale. Time series are built from simulations performed every day from 15 April to 23 June 1998 with a 10-km horizontal resolution. For the one single column centered on this site, a reasonable agreement is found between observed and simulated precipitation and surface fields time series. Indeed, the model is able to reproduce the timing and vertical extent of most major cloudy events, as revealed by radiative flux measurements, radar, and lidar data. The model encounters more difficulty with the prediction of cirrus and shallow clouds whereas deeper and long-lasting systems are much better captured. Day-to-day fluctuations of surface radiative fluxes, mostly explained by cloud cover changes, are similar in simulations and observations. Nevertheless, systematic differences have been identified. The downward longwave flux is overestimated under moist clear sky conditions. It is shown that the bias disappears with more sophisticated parameterizations such as Rapid Radiative Transfer Model (RRTM) and Community Climate Model, version 2 (CCM2) radiation schemes. The radiative impact of aerosols, not taken into account by the model, explains some of the discrepancies found under clear sky conditions. The differences, small compared to the short timescale variability, can reach up to 30 W m−2 on a 24-h timescale.

Overall, these results contribute to strengthen confidence in the realism of mesoscale forecast simulations. They also point out model weaknesses that may affect regional climate simulations: representation of low clouds, cirrus, and aerosols. Yet, the results suggest that these finescale simulations are appropriate for investigating parameterizations of cloud microphysics and radiative properties, as cloud timing and vertical extension are both reasonably captured.

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Hyeyum Hailey Shin
,
Song-You Hong
,
Yign Noh
, and
Jimy Dudhia

Abstract

Turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) is derived from a first-order planetary boundary layer (PBL) parameterization for convective boundary layers: the nonlocal K-profile Yonsei University (YSU) PBL. A parameterization for the TKE equation is developed to calculate TKE based on meteorological profiles given by the YSU PBL model. For this purpose buoyancy- and shear-generation terms are formulated consistently with the YSU scheme—that is, the combination of local, nonlocal, and explicit entrainment fluxes. The vertical transport term is also formulated in a similar fashion. A length scale consistent with the K profile is suggested for parameterization of dissipation.

Single-column model (SCM) simulations are conducted for a period in the second Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) Atmospheric Boundary Layer Study (GABLS2) intercomparison case. Results from the SCM simulations are compared with large-eddy simulation (LES) results. The daytime evolution of the vertical structure of TKE matches well with mixed-layer development. The TKE profile is shaped like a typical vertical velocity (w) variance, and its maximum is comparable to that from the LES. By varying the dissipation length from −23% to +13% the TKE maximum is changed from about −15% to +7%. After normalization, the change does not exceed the variability among previous studies. The location of TKE maximum is too low without the effects of the nonlocal TKE transport.

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Ram P. Regmi
,
Toshihiro Kitada
,
Jimy Dudhia
, and
Sangeeta Maharjan

Abstract

Nepal has been the location of a series of fatal aircraft accidents, raising serious concerns about civil aviation security and the safety of passengers. However, significant studies on weather patterns associated with the airports and air routes of the Himalayan complex terrain and their implications for aviation activities are yet to be carried out. The present study numerically reconstructs the prevailing weather conditions and puts forward some possible causes behind the most recent fatal aircraft accident in the foothills of the western Nepal Himalaya at 0730 UTC (1315 LST) 16 February 2014. The weather patterns have been numerically simulated at 1-km2 horizontal grid resolution using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) modeling system. The reconstructed weather situation shows the existence of a low-level cloud ceiling, supercooled cloud water and hail, trapped mountain waves, supercritical descent of a strong tail wind, and the development of turbulence at the altitude of the flight path followed by the aircraft. The aircraft might have gone through a series of weather hazards including visibility obstruction, moderate turbulence, abnormal loss in altitude, and icing. It is concluded that the weather situation over the region was adverse enough to affect small aircraft and therefore that it might have played an important role leading to the fatal accident. The development of hazardous weather over the region may be attributed to a previously unanticipated large-scale easterly gravity current over the middle hills of the Nepal Himalaya. The gravity current originated from the central high Himalayan mountainous region located northeast of the Kathmandu valley and traveled more than 200 km, reaching the foothills of the western Nepal Himalaya.

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Margaret A. LeMone
,
Mukul Tewari
,
Fei Chen
, and
Jimy Dudhia

Abstract

Heights of nocturnal boundary layer (NBL) features are determined using vertical profiles from the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting Model (ARW-WRF), and then compared to data for three moderately windy fair-weather nights during the April–May 1997 Kansas-based Cooperative Atmosphere–Surface Exchange Study (CASES-97) to evaluate the success of four PBL schemes in replicating observations. The schemes are Bougeault–LaCarrere (BouLac), Mellor–Yamada–Janjić (MYJ), quasi-normal scale elimination (QNSE), and Yonsei University (YSU) versions 3.2 and 3.4.1. This study’s chosen objectively determined model NBL height h estimate uses a turbulence kinetic energy (TKE) threshold equal to 5% , where TKE′ is relative to its background (free atmosphere) value. The YSU- and MYJ-determined h could not be improved upon. Observed heights of the virtual temperature maximum h Tvmax and wind speed maximum h Smax, and the heights h 1wsonde and h 2wsonde, between which the radiosonde slows from ~5 to ~3 m s−1 as it rises from turbulent to nonturbulent air, and thus brackets h, were used for comparison to model results. The observations revealed a general pattern: h Tvmax increased through the night, and h Tvmax and h Smax converged with time, and the two mostly lay between h 1wsonde and h 2wsonde after several hours. Clear failure to adhere to this pattern and large excursions from observations or other PBL schemes revealed excess mixing for BouLac and YSU version 3.2 (but not version 3.4.1) and excess thermal mixing for QNSE under windy conditions. Observed friction velocity was much smaller than model values, with differences consistent with the observations reflecting local skin drag and the model reflecting regional form drag + skin drag.

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Song-You Hong
,
Jimy Dudhia
, and
Shu-Hua Chen

Abstract

A revised approach to cloud microphysical processes in a commonly used bulk microphysics parameterization and the importance of correctly representing properties of cloud ice are discussed. Several modifications are introduced to more realistically simulate some of the ice microphysical processes. In addition to the assumption that ice nuclei number concentration is a function of temperature, a new and separate assumption is developed in which ice crystal number concentration is a function of ice amount. Related changes in ice microphysics are introduced, and the impact of sedimentation of ice crystals is also investigated.

In an idealized thunderstorm simulation, the distribution of simulated clouds and precipitation is sensitive to the assumptions in microphysical processes, whereas the impact of the sedimentation of cloud ice is small. Overall, the modifications introduced to microphysical processes play a role in significantly reducing cloud ice and increasing snow at colder temperatures and slightly increasing cloud ice and decreasing snow at warmer temperatures. A mesoscale simulation experiment for a heavy rainfall case indicates that impact due to the inclusion of sedimentation of cloud ice is not negligible but is still smaller than that due to the microphysics changes. Together with the sedimentation of ice, the new microphysics reveals a significant improvement in high-cloud amount, surface precipitation, and large-scale mean temperature through a better representation of the ice cloud–radiation feedback.

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Margaret A. LeMone
,
Mukul Tewari
,
Fei Chen
, and
Jimy Dudhia

Abstract

High-resolution 24-h runs of the Advanced Research version of the Weather Research and Forecasting Model are used to test eight objective methods for estimating convective boundary layer (CBL) depth h, using four planetary boundary layer schemes: Yonsei University (YSU), Mellor–Yamada–Janjic (MYJ), Bougeault–LaCarrere (BouLac), and quasi-normal scale elimination (QNSE). The methods use thresholds of virtual potential temperature Θυ, turbulence kinetic energy (TKE), Θυ,z , or Richardson number. Those that identify h consistent with values found subjectively from modeled Θυ profiles are used for comparisons to fair-weather observations from the 1997 Cooperative Atmosphere–Surface Exchange Study (CASES-97).

The best method defines h as the lowest level at which Θυ,z = 2 K km−1, working for all four schemes, with little sensitivity to horizontal grid spacing. For BouLac, MYJ, and QNSE, TKE thresholds did poorly for runs with 1- and 3-km grid spacing, producing irregular h growth not consistent with Θυ-profile evolution. This resulted from the vertical velocity W associated with resolved CBL eddies: for W > 0, TKE profiles were deeper and Θυ profiles more unstable than for W < 0. For the 1-km runs, 25-point spatial averaging was needed for reliable TKE-based h estimates, but thresholds greater than free-atmosphere values were sensitive to horizontal grid spacing. Matching Θυ(h) to Θυ(0.05h) or Θυ at the first model level were often successful, but the absence of eddies for 9-km grids led to more unstable Θυ profiles and often deeper h.

Values of h for BouLac, MYJ, and QNSE, are mostly smaller than observed, with YSU values close to slightly high, consistent with earlier results.

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Changhai Liu
,
Kyoko Ikeda
,
Gregory Thompson
,
Roy Rasmussen
, and
Jimy Dudhia

Abstract

An investigation was conducted on the effects of various physics parameterizations on wintertime precipitation predictions using a high-resolution regional climate model. The objective was to evaluate the sensitivity of cold-season mountainous snowfall to cloud microphysics schemes, planetary boundary layer (PBL) schemes, land surface schemes, and radiative transfer schemes at a 4-km grid spacing applicable to the next generation of regional climate models.

The results indicated that orographically enhanced precipitation was highly sensitive to cloud microphysics parameterizations. Of the tested 7 parameterizations, 2 schemes clearly outperformed the others that overpredicted the snowfall amount by as much as ~30%–60% on the basis of snow telemetry observations. Significant differences among these schemes were apparent in domain averages, spatial distributions of hydrometeors, latent heating profiles, and cloud fields. In comparison, model results showed relatively weak dependency on the land surface, PBL, and radiation schemes, roughly in the order of decreasing level of sensitivity.

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Hyeyum Hailey Shin
,
Song-You Hong
, and
Jimy Dudhia

Abstract

The lowest model level height z 1 is important in atmospheric numerical models, since surface layer similarity is applied to the height in most of the models. This indicates an implicit assumption that z 1 is within the surface layer. In this study, impacts of z 1 on the performance of planetary boundary layer (PBL) parameterizations are investigated. Three conceptually different schemes in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model are tested for one complete diurnal cycle: the nonlocal, first-order Yonsei University (YSU) and Asymmetric Convective Model version 2 (ACM2) schemes and the local, 1.5-order Mellor–Yamada–Janjić (MYJ) scheme.

Surface variables are sensitive to z 1 in daytime when z 1 is below 12 m, even though the height is within the surface layer. Meanwhile during nighttime, the variables are systematically altered as z 1 becomes shallower from 40 m. PBL structures show the sensitivity in the similar manner, but weaker. The order of sensitivity among the three schemes is YSU, ACM2, and MYJ. The significant sensitivity of the YSU parameterization comes from the PBL height calculation. This is considerably alleviated by excluding the thermal excess term in determining the PBL height when z 1 is within the surface layer. The factor that specifies the ratio of nonlocal transport to total mixing is critical to the sensitivity of the ACM2 scheme. The MYJ scheme has no systematic sensitivity, since it is a local scheme. It is also noted that a numerical instability appears accompanying the unrealistic PBL structures when the grid spacing in the surface layer suddenly jumps.

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Raquel Lorente-Plazas
,
Pedro A. Jiménez
,
Jimy Dudhia
, and
Juan P. Montávez

Abstract

This study assesses the impact of the atmospheric stability on the turbulent orographic form drag (TOFD) generated by unresolved small-scale orography (SSO) focusing on surface winds. With this aim, several experiments are conducted with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model and they are evaluated over a large number of stations (318 at 2-m height) in the Iberian Peninsula with a year of data. In WRF, Jiménez and Dudhia resolved the SSO by including a factor in the momentum equation, which is a function of the orographic variability inside a grid cell. It is found that this scheme can improve the simulated surface winds, especially at night, but it can underestimate the winds during daytime. This suggests that TOFD can be dependent on the PBL’s stability. To inspect and overcome this limitation, the stability conditions are included in the SSO parameterization to maintain the intensity of the drag during stable conditions while attenuating it during unstable conditions. The numerical experiments demonstrate that the inclusion of stability effects on the SSO drag parameterization improves the simulated surface winds at diurnal, monthly, and annual scales by reducing the systematic daytime underestimation of the original scheme. The correction is especially beneficial when both the convective velocity and the boundary layer height are used to characterize the unstable conditions.

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Barry Lynn
,
Ehud Gavze
,
Jimy Dudhia
,
David Gill
, and
Alexander Khain

Abstract

A new, computationally efficient semi-Lagrangian advection (SLA) scheme was used to simulate an idealized supercell storm using WRF coupled with spectral (bin) microphysics (SBM). SLA was developed to make complicated microphysical schemes more computationally accessible to cloud-resolving models. The SLA is a linear combination of semi-Lagrangian schemes of the first and the second order. It has relatively low numerical diffusion, a high level of mass conservation accuracy, and preserves the sum of multiple advected variables. In addition to idealized tests, comparisons were made with standard WRF higher-order, nonlinear advection schemes. Tests of the SLA were performed using different values of weighting coefficients γ for the combination of the first- and second-order components. The results of SLA on grids of 1 km, 500 m, and 250 m agree well with those of the standard WRF advection schemes, with results most similar to simulations with 250-m grid spacing. At the same time, the advection CPU time required by the SLA was 2.2–3 times shorter than the WRF advection schemes. The speed-up occurred in part because of the utilization of the same advection matrix for the advection of all hydrometeor mass bins. The findings of this work support the hypothesis that cloud microphysical simulation is more sensitive to the choice of microphysics than to the choice of advection schemes, thereby justifying the use of computationally efficient lower-order linear schemes.

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