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Francisco Salamanca
,
Alberto Martilli
,
Mukul Tewari
, and
Fei Chen

Abstract

In the last two decades, mesoscale models (MMs) with urban canopy parameterizations have been widely used to study urban boundary layer processes. Different studies show that such parameterizations are sensitive to the urban canopy parameters (UCPs) that define the urban morphology. At the same time, high-resolution UCP databases are becoming available for several cities. Studies are then needed to determine, for a specific application of an MM, the optimum degree of complexity of the urban canopy parameterizations and the resolution and details necessary in the UCP datasets. In this work, and in an attempt to answer the previous issues, four urban canopy schemes, with different degrees of complexity, have been used with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to simulate the planetary boundary layer over the city of Houston, Texas, for two days in August 2000. For the UCP two approaches have been considered: one based on three urban classes derived from the National Land Cover Data of the U.S. Geological Survey and one based on the highly detailed National Urban Database and Access Portal Tool (NUDAPT) dataset with a spatial resolution of 1 km2. Two-meter air temperature and surface wind speed have been used in the evaluation. The statistical analysis shows a tendency to overestimate the air temperatures by the simple bulk scheme and underestimate the air temperatures by the more detailed urban canopy parameterizations. Similarly, the bulk and single-layer schemes tend to overestimate the wind speed while the multilayer schemes underestimate it. The three-dimensional analysis of the meteorological fields revealed a possible impact (to be verified against measurements) of both the urban schemes and the UCP on cloud prediction. Moreover, the impact of air conditioning systems on the air temperature and their energy consumption has been evaluated with the most developed urban scheme for the two simulated days. During the night, this anthropogenic heat was responsible for an increase in the air temperature of up to 2°C in the densest urban areas, and the estimated energy consumption was of the same magnitude as energy consumption obtained with different methods when the most detailed UCP database was used. On the basis of the results for the present case study, one can conclude that if the purpose of the simulation requires only an estimate of the 2-m temperature a simple bulk scheme is sufficient but if the purpose of the simulation is an evaluation of an urban heat island mitigation strategy or the evaluation of the energy consumption due to air conditioning at city scale, it is necessary to use a complex urban canopy scheme and a detailed UCP.

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James Brownlee
,
Pallav Ray
,
Mukul Tewari
, and
Haochen Tan

Abstract

Numerical simulations without hydrological processes tend to overestimate the near-surface temperatures over urban areas. This is presumably due to underestimation of surface latent heat flux. To test this hypothesis, the existing single-layer urban canopy model (SLUCM) within the Weather Research and Forecasting Model is evaluated over Houston, Texas. Three simulations were conducted during 24–26 August 2000. The simulations include the use of the default “BULK” urban scheme, the SLUCM without hydrological processes, and the SLUCM with hydrological processes. The results show that the BULK scheme was least accurate, and it overestimated the near-surface temperatures and winds over the urban regions. In the presence of urban hydrological processes, the SLUCM underestimates these parameters. An analysis of the surface heat fluxes suggests that the error in the BULK scheme is due to a lack of moisture at the urban surface, whereas the error in the SLUCM with hydrological processes is due to increases in moisture at the urban surface. These results confirm earlier studies in which changes in near-surface temperature were primarily due to the changes in the turbulent (latent and sensible heat) fluxes in the presence of hydrological processes. The contribution from radiative flux was about one-third of that from turbulent flux. In the absence of hydrological processes, however, the results indicate that the changes in radiative flux contribute more to the near-surface temperature changes than the turbulent heat flux. The implications of these results are discussed.

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Loren D. White
,
Mukul Tewari
, and
T. N. Krishnamurti

Abstract

Using The Florida State University Global Spectral Model, hydrological budgets are calculated over the Amazon River basin for the boreal summer of 1979 with and without a complex biosphere model (BATS) coupled to the atmospheric model. Substantially increased precipitation and latent heat fluxes over the Amazon are noted for the BATS case, along with better maintenance of low-level flow patterns. Partitioning of the rainfall and latent heat flux into detailed component terms from BATS reveals evidence of “moisture recycling,” particularly in relation to the intercepted rainfall. Monthly variations in the component terms for precipitation, latent heat flux, and upper soil moisture are described. A total runoff efficiency of 75% is simulated by the model, while the surface runoff efficiency is about 30%. Model performance in the locality of two intensive field study areas (Pará and Rondônia) of the Large-Scale Biosphere–Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia has been examined via time series from the two models and observed data. The 850-hPa temperatures and wind speeds are both overestimated by the models. However, use of BATS has reduced the temperature bias by about 30%. Most significantly, the phase of the wind speed variations over Rondônia is maintained in agreement with the observations throughout the seasonal forecast.

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Shiguang Miao
,
Fei Chen
,
Margaret A. LeMone
,
Mukul Tewari
,
Qingchun Li
, and
Yingchun Wang

Abstract

In this paper, the characteristics of urban heat island (UHI) and boundary layer structures in the Beijing area, China, are analyzed using conventional and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) observations. The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model coupled with a single-layer urban canopy model (UCM) is used to simulate these urban weather features for comparison with observations. WRF is also used to test the sensitivity of model simulations to different urban land use scenarios and urban building structures to investigate the impacts of urbanization on surface weather and boundary layer structures. Results show that the coupled WRF/Noah/UCM modeling system seems to be able to reproduce the following observed features reasonably well: 1) the diurnal variation of UHI intensity; 2) the spatial distribution of UHI in Beijing; 3) the diurnal variation of wind speed and direction, and interactions between mountain–valley circulations and UHI; 4) small-scale boundary layer convective rolls and cells; and 5) the nocturnal boundary layer lower-level jet. The statistical analyses reveal that urban canopy variables (e.g., temperature, wind speed) from WRF/Noah/UCM compare better with surface observations than the conventional variables (e.g., 2-m temperature, 10-m wind speed). Both observations and the model show that the airflow over Beijing is dominated by mountain–valley flows that are modified by urban–rural circulations. Sensitivity tests imply that the presence or absence of urban surfaces significantly impacts the formation of horizontal convective rolls (HCRs), and the details in urban structures seem to have less pronounced but not negligible effects on HCRs.

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Pallav Ray
,
Haochen Tan
,
Mukul Tewari
,
James Brownlee
,
R. S. Ajayamohan
, and
Bradford S. Barrett

Abstract

The role of advection of heat and momentum on the evolution of near-surface temperature and wind is evaluated in urban-aware simulations over Houston, Texas, under dry conditions on a light-wind day. Two sets of experiments, each consisting of four simulations using different planetary boundary layer (PBL) schemes, were conducted over 48 h using the default urban scheme (BULK) and the single-layer urban canopy model (SLUCM) available within the Weather Research and Forecasting Model. We focus on understanding and quantifying the role played by temperature and momentum advection, particularly on the windward and leeward sides of the city. Previous studies have largely ignored any quantitative analysis of impacts from the advection of momentum over an urban area. The horizontal advection of temperature was found to be more important in the BULK because of the larger surface temperature gradient caused by warmer surface temperatures over urban areas than in the SLUCM. An analysis of the momentum budget shows that horizontal advection of zonal and meridional momentum plays a prominent role during the period of peak near-surface winds and that this effect is more pronounced in the windward side of the city. The local tendency in peak winds in the leeward side lags that in the windward side by about 1–2 h, similar to the lag found in horizontal momentum advection. The sensitivity of the results to different urban and PBL schemes was explored. The results imply that representation and influence of land-use patterns via sophisticated urban parameterizations generate locally driven winds that best resemble observations.

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Fei Chen
,
Kevin W. Manning
,
Margaret A. LeMone
,
Stanley B. Trier
,
Joseph G. Alfieri
,
Rita Roberts
,
Mukul Tewari
,
Dev Niyogi
,
Thomas W. Horst
,
Steven P. Oncley
,
Jeffrey B. Basara
, and
Peter D. Blanken

Abstract

This paper describes important characteristics of an uncoupled high-resolution land data assimilation system (HRLDAS) and presents a systematic evaluation of 18-month-long HRLDAS numerical experiments, conducted in two nested domains (with 12- and 4-km grid spacing) for the period from 1 January 2001 to 30 June 2002, in the context of the International H2O Project (IHOP_2002). HRLDAS was developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) to initialize land-state variables of the coupled Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF)–land surface model (LSM) for high-resolution applications. Both uncoupled HRDLAS and coupled WRF are executed on the same grid, sharing the same LSM, land use, soil texture, terrain height, time-varying vegetation fields, and LSM parameters to ensure the same soil moisture climatological description between the two modeling systems so that HRLDAS soil state variables can be used to initialize WRF–LSM without conversion and interpolation. If HRLDAS is initialized with soil conditions previously spun up from other models, it requires roughly 8–10 months for HRLDAS to reach quasi equilibrium and is highly dependent on soil texture. However, the HRLDAS surface heat fluxes can reach quasi-equilibrium state within 3 months for most soil texture categories. Atmospheric forcing conditions used to drive HRLDAS were evaluated against Oklahoma Mesonet data, and the response of HRLDAS to typical errors in each atmospheric forcing variable was examined. HRLDAS-simulated finescale (4 km) soil moisture, temperature, and surface heat fluxes agreed well with the Oklahoma Mesonet and IHOP_2002 field data. One case study shows high correlation between HRLDAS evaporation and the low-level water vapor field derived from radar analysis.

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