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Song-You Hong and Jimy Dudhia

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Hyeyum Hailey Shin and Jimy Dudhia

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Planetary boundary layer (PBL) parameterizations in mesoscale models have been developed for horizontal resolutions that cannot resolve any turbulence in the PBL, and evaluation of these parameterizations has been focused on profiles of mean and parameterized flux. Meanwhile, the recent increase in computing power has been allowing numerical weather prediction (NWP) at horizontal grid spacings finer than 1 km, at which kilometer-scale large eddies in the convective PBL are partly resolvable. This study evaluates the performance of convective PBL parameterizations in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model at subkilometer grid spacings. The evaluation focuses on resolved turbulence statistics, considering expectations for improvement in the resolved fields by using the fine meshes. The parameterizations include four nonlocal schemes—Yonsei University (YSU), asymmetric convective model 2 (ACM2), eddy diffusivity mass flux (EDMF), and total energy mass flux (TEMF)—and one local scheme, the Mellor–Yamada–Nakanishi–Niino (MYNN) level-2.5 model.

Key findings are as follows: 1) None of the PBL schemes is scale-aware. Instead, each has its own best performing resolution in parameterizing subgrid-scale (SGS) vertical transport and resolving eddies, and the resolution appears to be different between heat and momentum. 2) All the selected schemes reproduce total vertical heat transport well, as resolved transport compensates differences of the parameterized SGS transport from the reference SGS transport. This interaction between the resolved and SGS parts is not found in momentum. 3) Those schemes that more accurately reproduce one feature (e.g., thermodynamic transport, momentum transport, energy spectrum, or probability density function of resolved vertical velocity) do not necessarily perform well for other aspects.

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Jimy Dudhia and Mitchell W. Moncrieff

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A nonhydrostatic numerical mesoscale model has been applied to the study of an Oklahoma squall line with initial conditions taken from the Oklahoma–Kansas Preliminary Regional Experiment for STORM-Central (PRE-STORM) data for 7 May 1985. The model reproduced features typical of organized propagating convection occurring during spring and summer in this region, namely a squall line/mesoscale convective system containing strong right-flank convection resembling many documented cases. The alignment and motion of the system change during its development and are determined by the ambient wind at three levels, the steering level of the mature cells, the level of free convection, and the surface layer. Three persistent right-flank cells had a characteristic rightward propagation relative to the mean wind shear vector. Their propagation occurred through successive mergers of cells that had formed at a downdraft outflow convergence front and were similar to the flanking line often seen to the south of strong updraft cores.

The three-dimensional flow structure of the right-flank cells was found to center on a distinct dynamical pressure pattern that itself resulted from the interaction of the midlevel relative flow with the cyclonic vorticity in the updrafts. This low pressure on the updraft's flank extended down to low levels where it was partly responsible for directing the southward surge of downdraft air causing the convergence and flanking line. Other types of supercell propagation are speculated upon in relation to this characteristic dynamical pressure effect evident in the simulation in the neighborhood of cyclonic updrafts.

The updraft cyclonic vorticity was found to strongly influence the domain-scale circulation, particularly in the upper troposphere where it counteracted the anticyclonic production due to divergence and the Coriolis acceleration, leaving net cyclonic vorticity throughout most of the troposphere on a scale of 200 km.

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Pedro A. Jiménez and Jimy Dudhia

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The ability of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to reproduce the surface wind direction over complex terrain is examined. A simulation spanning a winter season at a high horizontal resolution of 2 km is compared with wind direction records from a surface observational network located in the northeastern Iberian Peninsula. A previous evaluation has shown the ability of WRF to reproduce the wind speed over the region once the effects of the subgrid-scale topography are parameterized. Hence, the current investigation complements the previous findings, providing information about the model's ability to reproduce the direction of the surface flow. The differences between the observations and the model are quantified in terms of scores explicitly designed to handle the circular nature of the wind direction. Results show that the differences depend on the wind speed. The larger the wind speed is, the smaller are the wind direction differences. Areas with more complex terrain show larger systematic differences between model and observations; in these areas, a statistical correction is shown to help. The importance of the grid point selected for the comparison with observations is also analyzed. A careful selection is relevant to reducing comparative problems over complex terrain.

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Song-You Hong, Yign Noh, and Jimy Dudhia

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This paper proposes a revised vertical diffusion package with a nonlocal turbulent mixing coefficient in the planetary boundary layer (PBL). Based on the study of Noh et al. and accumulated results of the behavior of the Hong and Pan algorithm, a revised vertical diffusion algorithm that is suitable for weather forecasting and climate prediction models is developed. The major ingredient of the revision is the inclusion of an explicit treatment of entrainment processes at the top of the PBL. The new diffusion package is called the Yonsei University PBL (YSU PBL). In a one-dimensional offline test framework, the revised scheme is found to improve several features compared with the Hong and Pan implementation. The YSU PBL increases boundary layer mixing in the thermally induced free convection regime and decreases it in the mechanically induced forced convection regime, which alleviates the well-known problems in the Medium-Range Forecast (MRF) PBL. Excessive mixing in the mixed layer in the presence of strong winds is resolved. Overly rapid growth of the PBL in the case of the Hong and Pan is also rectified. The scheme has been successfully implemented in the Weather Research and Forecast model producing a more realistic structure of the PBL and its development. In a case study of a frontal tornado outbreak, it is found that some systematic biases of the large-scale features such as an afternoon cold bias at 850 hPa in the MRF PBL are resolved. Consequently, the new scheme does a better job in reproducing the convective inhibition. Because the convective inhibition is accurately predicted, widespread light precipitation ahead of a front, in the case of the MRF PBL, is reduced. In the frontal region, the YSU PBL scheme improves some characteristics, such as a double line of intense convection. This is because the boundary layer from the YSU PBL scheme remains less diluted by entrainment leaving more fuel for severe convection when the front triggers it.

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Stephanie Evan, M. Joan Alexander, and Jimy Dudhia

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A 2-day inertia–gravity wave (IGW) was observed in high-resolution radiosonde soundings of horizontal wind and temperature taken during the 2006 Tropical Warm Pool–International Cloud Experiment (TWP-ICE) experiment in the Darwin area. The wave was observed in the stratosphere above Darwin from 28 January to 5 February. A similar wave event is observed in the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) operational data. A comparison between the characteristics of the IGW derived with the ECMWF data to the properties of the wave derived with the radiosonde data shows that the ECMWF data capture similar structure for this 2-day wave event but with a larger vertical wavelength.

A reverse ray-tracing method is used to localize the source region. Using ECMWF data to define the atmospheric background conditions and wave properties observed in the soundings, it is found that the 2-day wave event originated from deep convection in the Indonesian region around 20 January.

The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) modeling system is used to complement the ECMWF data to assess the influence of vertical resolution and initial conditions on the wave structure. The model domain is configured as a tropical channel and the ECMWF analyses provide the north/south boundaries and initial conditions. WRF is used with the same horizontal resolution (40 km) as the operational ECMWF in 2006 while using a finer vertical grid spacing than ECMWF. The model is run from 18 January to 11 February to cover the wave life cycle. Different experiments are also performed to determine the sensitivity of the wave structure to cumulus schemes, initial conditions, and vertical resolution. The 2-day wave properties resulting from the WRF experiments are compared to those retrieved from the radiosonde data and from the ECMWF analyses. It is demonstrated that higher vertical resolution would be required for ECMWF to accurately resolve the vertical structure of the wave and its effect on the middle-atmospheric circulation.

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Samson Hagos, L. Ruby Leung, and Jimy Dudhia

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To identify the main thermodynamic processes that sustain the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO), an eddy available potential energy budget analysis is performed on a regional model simulation with moisture constrained by observations. The model realistically simulates the two MJO episodes observed during the winter of 2007/08. Analysis of these two cases shows that instabilities and damping associated with variations in diabatic heating and energy transport work in concert to provide the MJO with its observed characteristics. The results are used to construct a simplified paradigm of MJO thermodynamics.

Furthermore, the effect of moisture nudging on the simulation is analyzed to identify the limitations of the model cumulus parameterization. Without moisture nudging, the parameterization fails to provide adequate low-level (upper level) moistening during the early (late) stage of the MJO active phase. The moistening plays a critical role in providing stratiform heating variability that is an important source of eddy available potential energy for the model MJO.

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Steven M. Cavallo, Jimy Dudhia, and Chris Snyder

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An upper-level cold bias in potential temperature tendencies of 10 K day−1, strongest at the top of the model, is observed in Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model forecasts. The bias originates from the Rapid Radiative Transfer Model longwave radiation physics scheme and can be reduced substantially by 1) modifying the treatment within the scheme by adding a multilayer buffer between the model top and top of the atmosphere and 2) constraining stratospheric water vapor to remain within the estimated climatology in the stratosphere. These changes reduce the longwave heating rate bias at the model top to ±0.5 K day−1. Corresponding bias reductions are also seen, particularly near the tropopause.

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

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

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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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