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J. Ching, R. Rotunno, M. LeMone, A. Martilli, B. Kosovic, P. A. Jimenez, and J. Dudhia

Abstract

Mesoscale numerical weather prediction models using fine-grid [O(1) km] meshes for weather forecasting, environmental assessment, and other applications capture aspects of larger-than-grid-mesh size, convectively induced secondary circulations (CISCs) such as cells and rolls that occur in the convective planetary boundary layer (PBL). However, 1-km grid spacing is too large for the simulation of the interaction of CISCs with smaller-scale turbulence. The existence of CISCs also violates the neglect of horizontal gradients of turbulent quantities in current PBL schemes. Both aspects—poorly resolved CISCs and a violation of the assumptions behind PBL schemes—are examples of what occurs in Wyngaard’s “terra incognita,” where horizontal grid spacing is comparable to the scale of the simulated motions. Thus, model CISCs (M-CISCs) cannot be simulated reliably. This paper describes how the superadiabatic layer in the lower convective PBL together with increased horizontal resolution allow the critical Rayleigh number to be exceeded and thus allow generation of M-CISCs like those in nature; and how the M-CISCs eventually neutralize the virtual temperature stratification, lowering the Rayleigh number and stopping their growth. Two options for removing M-CISCs while retaining their fluxes are 1) introducing nonlocal closure schemes for more effective removal of heat from the surface and 2) restricting the effective Rayleigh number to remain subcritical. It is demonstrated that CISCs are correctly handled by large-eddy simulation (LES) and thus may provide a way to improve representation of them or their effects. For some applications, it may suffice to allow M-CISCs to develop, but account for their shortcomings during interpretation.

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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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Pedro A. Jiménez, Jimy Dudhia, J. Fidel González-Rouco, Jorge Navarro, Juan P. Montávez, and Elena García-Bustamante

Abstract

This study summarizes the revision performed on the surface layer formulation of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. A first set of modifications are introduced to provide more suitable similarity functions to simulate the surface layer evolution under strong stable/unstable conditions. A second set of changes are incorporated to reduce or suppress the limits that are imposed on certain variables in order to avoid undesired effects (e.g., a lower limit in u *). The changes introduced lead to a more consistent surface layer formulation that covers the full range of atmospheric stabilities. The turbulent fluxes are more (less) efficient during the day (night) in the revised scheme and produce a sharper afternoon transition that shows the largest impacts in the planetary boundary layer meteorological variables. The most important impacts in the near-surface diagnostic variables are analyzed and compared with observations from a mesoscale network.

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