Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 5 of 5 items for :

  • Author or Editor: Brian J. Billings x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Vanda Grubišić and Brian J. Billings

Abstract

A large-amplitude lee-wave rotor event observationally documented during Sierra Rotors Project Intensive Observing Period (IOP) 8 on 24–26 March 2004 in the lee of the southern Sierra Nevada is examined. Mountain waves and rotors occurred over Owens Valley in a pre-cold-frontal environment. In this study, the evolution and structure of the observed and numerically simulated mountain waves and rotors during the event on 25 March, in which the horizontal circulation associated with the rotor was observed as an opposing, easterly flow by the mesonetwork of surface stations in Owens Valley, are analyzed.

The high-resolution numerical simulations of this case, performed with the Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System (COAMPS) run with multiple nested-grid domains, the finest grid having 333-m horizontal spacing, reproduced many of the observed features of this event. These include small-amplitude waves above the Sierra ridge decoupled from thermally forced flow within the valley, and a large-amplitude mountain wave, turbulent rotor, and strong westerlies on the Sierra Nevada lee slopes during the period of the observed surface easterly flow. The sequence of the observed and simulated events shows a pronounced diurnal variation with the maximum wave and rotor activity occurring in the early evening hours during both days of IOP 8.

The lee-wave response, and thus indirectly the appearance of lee-wave rotor during the core IOP 8 period, is found to be strongly controlled by temporal changes in the upstream ambient wind and stability profiles. The downstream mountain range exerts strong control over the lee-wave horizontal wavelength during the strongest part of this event, thus exhibiting the control over the cross-valley position of the rotor and the degree of strong downslope wind penetration into the valley.

Full access
Brian J. Billings, Vanda Grubišić, and Randolph D. Borys

Abstract

A persistent cold-air pool in the Yampa Valley of northwestern Colorado was simulated with the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model (MM5). The observed cold-air pool, which was identified by temperature measurements along a line of surface stations ascending the eastern side of the valley, remained in place throughout the day of 10 January 2004. The baseline simulation with horizontal resolution of 1 km, which is close to the resolution of operational regional mesoscale model forecasts, neither matched the strength of the observed cold-air pool nor retained the cold pool throughout the day. Varying the PBL parameterization, increasing the vertical resolution, and increasing the model spinup time did not significantly improve the results. However, the inclusion of snow cover, increased horizontal resolution, and an improved treatment of horizontal diffusion did have a sizable effect on the forecast quality. The snow cover in the baseline simulation was essential for preventing the diurnal heating from eroding the cold pool, but was only sufficient to produce a nearly isothermal temperature structure within the valley, largely because of an increased reflection of solar radiation. The increase of horizontal resolution to 333 and 111 m resulted in a stronger cold-air pool and its retention throughout the day. In addition to improving the resolution of flow features in steep terrain, resulting in, for example, less drainage out of the valley, the increase in horizontal resolution led to a better forecast because of a reduced magnitude of horizontal diffusion calculated along the terrain-following model surfaces. Calculating horizontal diffusion along the constant height levels had a beneficial impact on the quality of the simulations, producing effects similar to those achieved by increasing the horizontal resolution, but at a fraction of the computational cost.

Full access
Brian Billings, Stephen A. Cohn, Rodney J. Kubesh, and William O. J. Brown

Abstract

The best way to train the next wave of observational talent is through direct experience. In 2012 and again in 2014, students at St. Cloud State University (SCSU) welcomed deployments of professional atmospheric research equipment, allowing them to support and execute field projects. The Boundary Structure Experiments with Central Minnesota Profiling (BaSE CaMP) projects brought the Mobile Integrated Sounding System (MISS) from the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s (NCAR) Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) to SCSU for a National Science Foundation–funded educational deployment. Its diverse instrumentation and ability to travel to interesting weather events and locations makes MISS extremely valuable for teaching students about both weather experiments and measurement strategies. In addition to the university project, outreach activities with MISS took place at high schools, regional conferences, and public events. MISS carries four instruments: a boundary layer wind profiler, a radio acoustic sounding system (RASS), radiosondes, and an instrumented 10-m tower. The type and time of MISS deployments were quite varied so students could participate around their class schedule, jobs, and other commitments. Each year the project had periods of fixed operations and mobile activity, where MISS was relocated to best observe current weather conditions. BaSE CaMP operations and results were incorporated into many classes in the meteorology program at SCSU. The original course request was for Radar and Satellite Meteorology, but other activities contributed to Atmospheric Dynamics, Physical Meteorology, and Meteorological Analysis Software courses.

Open access
Myung-Sook Park, Andrew B. Penny, Russell L. Elsberry, Brian J. Billings, and James D. Doyle

Abstract

Latent heating and cooling rates have a critical role in predicting tropical cyclone formation and intensification. In a prior study, Park and Elsberry estimated the latent heating and cooling rates from aircraft Doppler radar [Electra Doppler Radar (ELDORA)] observations for two developing and two nondeveloping tropical disturbances during the Tropical Cyclone Structure 2008 (TCS-08) field experiment. In this study, equivalent retrievals of heating rates from two mesoscale models with 1-km resolution are calculated with the same radar thermodynamic retrieval. Contoured frequency altitude diagrams and vertical profiles of the net latent heating rates from the model are compared with the ELDORA-retrieved rates in similar cloud-cluster regions relative to the center of circulation.

In both the developing and nondeveloping cases, the radar-equivalent retrievals from the two models tend to overestimate heating for less frequently occurring, intense convective cells that contribute to positive vorticity generation and spinup in the lower troposphere. The model maximum cooling rates are consistently smaller in magnitude than the heating maxima for the nondeveloping cases as well as the developing cases. Whereas in the model the cooling rates are predominantly associated with melting processes, the effects of evaporative cooling are underestimated in convective downdraft regions and at upper levels. Because of the net warming of the columns, the models tend to overintensify the lower-tropospheric circulations if these intense convective cells are close to the circulation center. Improvements in the model physical process representations are required to realistically represent the evaporative cooling effects.

Full access
Juerg Schmidli, Brian Billings, Fotini K. Chow, Stephan F. J. de Wekker, James Doyle, Vanda Grubišić, Teddy Holt, Qiangfang Jiang, Katherine A. Lundquist, Peter Sheridan, Simon Vosper, C. David Whiteman, Andrzej A. Wyszogrodzki, and Günther Zängl

Abstract

Three-dimensional simulations of the daytime thermally induced valley wind system for an idealized valley–plain configuration, obtained from nine nonhydrostatic mesoscale models, are compared with special emphasis on the evolution of the along-valley wind. The models use the same initial and lateral boundary conditions, and standard parameterizations for turbulence, radiation, and land surface processes. The evolution of the mean along-valley wind (averaged over the valley cross section) is similar for all models, except for a time shift between individual models of up to 2 h and slight differences in the speed of the evolution. The analysis suggests that these differences are primarily due to differences in the simulated surface energy balance such as the dependence of the sensible heat flux on surface wind speed. Additional sensitivity experiments indicate that the evolution of the mean along-valley flow is largely independent of the choice of the dynamical core and of the turbulence parameterization scheme. The latter does, however, have a significant influence on the vertical structure of the boundary layer and of the along-valley wind. Thus, this ideal case may be useful for testing and evaluation of mesoscale numerical models with respect to land surface–atmosphere interactions and turbulence parameterizations.

Full access