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Elena Tomasi, Lorenzo Giovannini, Dino Zardi, and Massimiliano de Franceschi


The paper presents the results of high-resolution simulations performed with the WRF Model, coupled with two different land surface schemes, Noah and Noah_MP, with the aim of accurately reproducing winter season meteorological conditions in a typical Alpine valley. Accordingly, model results are compared against data collected during an intensive field campaign performed in the Adige Valley, in the eastern Italian Alps. In particular, the ability of the model in reproducing the time evolution of 2-m temperature and of incoming and outgoing shortwave and longwave radiation is examined. The validation of model results highlights that, in this context, WRF reproduces rather poorly near-surface temperature over snow-covered terrain, with an evident underestimation, during both daytime and nighttime. Furthermore it fails to capture specific atmospheric processes, such as the temporal evolution of the ground-based thermal inversion. The main cause of these errors lies in the miscalculation of the mean gridcell albedo, resulting in an inaccurate estimate of the reflected solar radiation calculated by both Noah and Noah_MP. Therefore, modifications to the initialization, to the land-use classification, and to both land surface models are performed to improve model results, by intervening in the calculation of the albedo, of the snow cover, and of the surface temperature. Qualitative and quantitative analyses show that, after these changes, a significant improvement in the comparability between model results and observations is achieved. In particular, outgoing shortwave radiation is lowered, 2-m temperature maxima increased accordingly, and ground-based thermal inversions are better captured.

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Claudio Tomasi, Boyan Petkov, Elena Benedetti, Luca Valenziano, Angelo Lupi, Vito Vitale, and Ubaldo Bonafé


Two-channel sun photometers can be easily employed at Antarctic sites, where harsh environmental conditions prevail, to carry out measurements of precipitable water W. In the very dry air conditions observed in the Antarctic atmosphere, water vapor does not produce strong absorption features along the sun path. Therefore, these instruments need to be calibrated using analytical forms different from the square root regime, which can be determined by simulating the output voltages measured at Antarctic sites, for the spectral near-IR curves of extraterrestrial solar irradiance, instrumental responsivity parameters, and atmospheric transmittance, relative to various measurement periods. For this purpose, average models of the Antarctic atmosphere from the ground level up to the 30-km altitude were considered for different solar zenith angles and relative humidity conditions. The ratios between the output voltages simulated in the band and window channels were plotted as a function of total water vapor content Cw, for each site and each period, to define the best-fit calibration curves, which were subsequently normalized to the field measurements to take into account the aging effects on the filter transmission characteristics. Each of the five calibration curves was found to present a slope coefficient decreasing gradually with Cw from values higher than 0.8 to about 0.6. Using these curves, measurements of W were obtained, which differ appreciably at both sea level and high-altitude sites from those given by the square root calibration curves, avoiding large overestimation errors of 10%–40% at the high-altitude sites and underestimation errors of 5%–15% at the sea level site.

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Dino Zardi, Marco Falocchi, Lorenzo Giovannini, Werner Tirler, Elena Tomasi, Gianluca Antonacci, Enrico Ferrero, Stefano Alessandrini, Pedro A. Jimenez, Branko Kosovic, and Luca Delle Monache


A tracer-based experiment in the Bolzano basin (Italian Alps) reveals peculiar features of orographic advection and turbulent dispersion processes in mountain valleys, and provides a remarkable dataset of atmospheric and concentration measurements for calibration and testing of numerical models over complex terrain.

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