Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 6 of 6 items for :

  • Author or Editor: Kenneth Mitchell x
  • Monthly Weather Review x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Wayne M. Angevine
and
Kenneth Mitchell

Abstract

Atmospheric models are a basic tool for understanding the processes that produce poor air quality, for predicting air quality problems, and for evaluating proposed solutions. At the base of many air quality models is a mesoscale meteorological model. The National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) is now using a model with spatial resolution better than that used for many previous air quality studies. Mixing depth and wind and temperature profiles in the convective boundary layer are the key parameters that must be predicted correctly by a meteorological model for air quality applications. This paper describes an evaluation of the Eta Model predictions of these parameters based on comparisons to measurements made by boundary layer wind profilers at sites in Illinois and Tennessee. The results indicate that the Eta Model is quite usable as a meteorological driver for air quality modeling under reasonably simple terrain and weather conditions. The model estimates of mixing depth, boundary layer winds, and temperature profiles are reasonably accurate. This performance stems from a combination of recent Eta Model advancements in PBL and surface layer physics, land surface physics, 4D data assimilation, and vertical and horizontal resolution.

Full access
Kenneth E. Mitchell
and
John B. Hovermale

Abstract

The structure of the thunderstorm gust front is investigated by a nonhydrostatic, two-dimensional (x z/) numerical model. In the model, which is dry, the production of negatively buoyant air by evaporation is parameterized via an externally imposed, local-cooling function. This parameterization sustains a steady cold downdraft, which drives the surface outflow and associated gust front.

It is shown that two dominant factors influencing gust front structure in the vertical plane are the solenoidal field coincident with the front and surface friction, modeled by means of a simple bulk aerodynamic drag formulation. The circulation theorem is invoked to illustrate how solenoidal accelerations oppose the deceleration by surface friction. After the onset of a downdraft in the model, these opposing tendencies soon reach a balance. Thus, following a brief transient stage, the model gust front exhibits a persistent configuration as it propagates rapidly forward. The essential features of this configuration are examined and compared with both tower observations of gust fronts and laboratory models of gravity currents.

Full access
Weizhong Zheng
,
Michael Ek
,
Kenneth Mitchell
,
Helin Wei
, and
Jesse Meng

Abstract

This study examines the performance of the NCEP Global Forecast System (GFS) surface layer parameterization scheme for strongly stable conditions over land in which turbulence is weak or even disappears because of high near-surface atmospheric stability. Cases of both deep snowpack and snow-free conditions are investigated. The results show that decoupling and excessive near-surface cooling may appear in the late afternoon and nighttime, manifesting as a severe cold bias of the 2-m surface air temperature that persists for several hours or more. Concurrently, because of negligible downward heat transport from the atmosphere to the land, a warm temperature bias develops at the first model level. The authors test changes to the stable surface layer scheme that include introduction of a stability parameter constraint that prevents the land–atmosphere system from fully decoupling and modification to the roughness-length formulation. GFS sensitivity runs with these two changes demonstrate the ability of the proposed surface layer changes to reduce the excessive near-surface cooling in forecasts of 2-m surface air temperature. The proposed changes prevent both the collapse of turbulence in the stable surface layer over land and the possibility of numerical instability resulting from thermal decoupling between the atmosphere and the surface. The authors also execute and evaluate daily GFS 7-day test forecasts with the proposed changes spanning a one-month period in winter. The assessment reveals that the systematic deficiencies and substantial errors in GFS near-surface 2-m air temperature forecasts are considerably reduced, along with a notable reduction of temperature errors throughout the lower atmosphere and improvement of forecast skill scores for light and medium precipitation amounts.

Full access
Alan K. Betts
,
Fei Chen
,
Kenneth E. Mitchell
, and
Zaviša I. Janjić

Abstract

Data from the 1987 summer FIFE experiment for four pairs of days are compared with corresponding 48-h forecasts from two different versions of the Eta Model, both initialized from the NCEP–NCAR (National Centers for Environmental Prediction–National Center for Atmospheric Research) global reanalysis. One used the late 1995 operational Eta Model physics, the second, with a new soil and land surface scheme and revisions to the surface layer and boundary layer schemes, used the physics package that became operational on 31 January 1996. Improvements in the land surface parameterization and its interaction with the atmosphere are one key to improved summer precipitation forecasts. The new soil thermal model is an improvement over the earlier slab soil model, although the new skin temperature generally now has too large a diurnal cycle (whereas the old surface temperature had too small a diurnal cycle) and is more sensitive to net radiation errors. The nighttime temperature minima are often too low, because of a model underestimate of the downwelling radiation, despite improvements in the coupling of the surface and boundary layer at night. The daytime incoming solar radiation has a substantial high bias in both models, because of some coding errors (which have now been corrected), insufficient atmospheric shortwave absorption, and underestimates of cloud.

The authors explore evaporation before and after a midsummer heavy rain event with the two models. The late 1995 operational model uses a soil moisture bucket physics, with a specified annual-mean fixed field soil moisture climatology, so the surface evaporation responds primarily to the atmospheric forcing. While the surface fluxes in the new model show this strong rain event more dramatically, because its soil moisture comes from the global reanalysis rather than climatology, there remain problems with soil moisture initialization. It appears that a fully continuous Eta data assimilation system (which is under development), likely with more than two soil layers and assimilation of observed hourly precipitation, will be needed to get an adequate soil moisture initialization. Evaporation in the new two-layer soil model falls too much from forecast day 1 to day 2, as the first shallow 10-cm layer dries out (as it also does in the 1995 model with the bucket physics). This appears to be related to the specified low vegetation fraction and the bare soil evaporation model. Although the new boundary layer scheme is better coupled to the surface at night, both versions underestimate entrainment at the top of the mixed layer. The improvement in the surface evaporation resulting from using a climatological green vegetation fraction (derived from satellite data) and a revised bare soil evaporation formulation are shown. These changes were incorporated in a model physics revision in February 1997. An encouraging result from one case study, when it rained in the model, shows that the interaction between the surface, boundary layer, and convection schemes during precipitation is satisfactory, although the model underestimates the impact of cloud cover on the incoming solar radiation.

Full access
Joseph G. Alfieri
,
Dev Niyogi
,
Peter D. Blanken
,
Fei Chen
,
Margaret A. LeMone
,
Kenneth E. Mitchell
,
Michael B. Ek
, and
Anil Kumar

Abstract

Vegetated surfaces, such as grasslands and croplands, constitute a significant portion of the earth’s surface and play an important role in land–atmosphere exchange processes. This study focuses on one important parameter used in describing the exchange of moisture from vegetated surfaces: the minimum canopy resistance (r c min ). This parameter is used in the Jarvis canopy resistance scheme that is incorporated into the Noah and many other land surface models. By using an inverted form of the Jarvis scheme, r c min is determined from observational data collected during the 2002 International H2O Project (IHOP_2002). The results indicate that r c min is highly variable both site to site and over diurnal and longer time scales. The mean value at the grassland sites in this study is 96 s m−1 while the mean value for the cropland (winter wheat) sites is one-fourth that value at 24 s m−1. The mean r c min for all the sites is 72 s m−1 with a standard deviation of 39 s m−1. This variability is due to both the empirical nature of the Jarvis scheme and a combination of changing environmental conditions, such as plant physiology and plant species composition, that are not explicitly considered by the scheme. This variability in r c min has important implications for land surface modeling where r c min is often parameterized as a constant. For example, the Noah land surface model parameterizes r c min for the grasslands and croplands types in this study as 40 s m−1. Tests with the coupled Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF)–Noah model indicate that the using the modified values of r c min from this study improves the estimates of latent heat flux; the difference between the observed and modeled moisture flux decreased by 50% or more. While land surface models that estimate transpiration using Jarvis-type relationships may be improved by revising the r c min values for grasslands and croplands, updating the r c min will not fully account for the variability in r c min observed in this study. As such, it may be necessary to replace the Jarvis scheme currently used in many land surface and numerical weather prediction models with a physiologically based estimate of the canopy resistance.

Full access
Raymond W. Arritt
,
Thomas D. Rink
,
Moti Segal
,
Dennis P. Todey
,
Craig A. Clark
,
Mark J. Mitchell
, and
Kenneth M. Labas

Abstract

Hourly wind profiler observations from the NOAA Profiler Network were used to develop a climatology of the low-level jet (LLJ) over the Great Plains of the central United States from April to September of 1993. The peak precipitation episode of the 1993 flood was associated with a sustained period of high incidence of strong low-level jets (over 20 m s−1). Consistent with previous studies, strong low-level jets were found to be promoted in the warm sector of an extratropical cyclone. Comparison of datasets formulated using velocity variance thresholds with unthresholded data similar to the operational hourly data suggests that the profiler observations often were contaminated by radar returns from migrating birds, especially during the months of April and May.

The strong low-level jets during the peak precipitation episode of the 1993 flood over the upper Mississippi River basin were associated with a high-amplitude upper-level wave pattern over and upstream of the continental United States. Separating the composite 850-mb wind for strong low-level jets into geostrophic and ageostrophic components showed that the magnitudes of the ageostrophic component and the anomalous geostrophic component were comparable.

Full access