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Miao Yu, Jorge González, Shiguang Miao, and Prathap Ramamurthy

Abstract

A cooling tower scheme that quantifies the sensible and latent anthropogenic heat fluxes released from buildings was coupled to an operational forecasting system [Rapid Refresh Multiscale Analysis and Prediction of the Beijing Urban Meteorological Institute (RMAPS-Urban)] and was evaluated in the context of the megacity of Beijing, China, during summer months. The objective of this scheme is to correct for underestimations of surface latent heat fluxes in regional climate modeling and weather forecasts in urban areas. The performance for surface heat fluxes by the modified RMAPS-Urban is greatly improved when compared with a suite of observations in Beijing. The cooling tower scheme increases the anthropogenic latent heat partition by 90% of the total anthropogenic heat flux release. Averaged surface latent heat flux in urban areas increases to about 64.3 W m−2 with a peak of 150 W m−2 on dry summer days and 40.35 W m−2 with a peak of 150 W m−2 on wet summer days. The model performance of near-surface temperature and humidity is also improved. Average 2-m temperature errors are reduced by 1°C, and maximum and minimum temperature errors are improved by 2°–3°C; absolute humidity is increased by 5%.

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Jingjing Dou, Yingchun Wang, Robert Bornstein, and Shiguang Miao

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This study investigates interactive effects from the Beijing urban area on temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and precipitation by use of hourly automatic weather station data from June to August 2008–12. Results show the Beijing summer urban heat island (UHI) as a multicenter distribution (corresponding to underlying land-use features), with stronger nighttime than daytime values (averages of 1.7° vs 0.8°C, respectively). Specific humidity was lower in urban Beijing than in surrounding nonurban areas, and this urban dry island is stronger during day than night (maximum of −2.4 vs −1.9 g kg−1). Wind direction is affected by both a mountain–valley-breeze circulation and by urbanization. Morning low-level flows converged into the strong UHI, but afternoon and evening southerly winds were bifurcated by an urban building-barrier-induced divergence. Summer thunderstorms also thus bifurcated and bypassed the urban center because of the building-barrier effect during both daytime and nighttime weak-UHI (<1.25°C) periods. This produced a regional-normalized rainfall (NR) minimum in the urban center and directly downwind of the urban area (of up to −35%), with maximum values along its downwind lateral edges (of >15%). Strong UHIs (>1.25°C), however, induced or enhanced thunderstorm formation (again day and night), which produced an NR maximum in the most urbanized area of up to 75%.

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Shiguang Miao, Fei Chen, Qingchun Li, and Shuiyong Fan

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Finescale simulations (with 500-m grid spacing) using the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF) were used to investigate impacts of urban processes and urbanization on a localized, summer, heavy rainfall in Beijing. Evaluation using radar and gauge data shows that this configuration of WRF with three-dimensional variational data assimilation of local weather and GPS precipitable water data can simulate this event generally well. Additional WRF simulations were conducted to test the sensitivity of simulation of this storm to different urban processes and urban land-use scenarios. The results confirm that the city does play an important role in determining storm movement and rainfall amount. Comparison of cases with and without the presence of the city of Beijing with respect to the approaching storm shows that the urban effect seems to lead to the breaking of the squall line into convective cells over the urban area. The change of precipitation amount depends on the degree of urbanization (i.e., the change over time in the extent of Beijing city). Model results show that an early urbanization prior to 1980 decreases the maximum rainfall, whereas further urbanization in Beijing is conducive to bifurcating the path of rainfall. According to sensitivity results with a single-layer urban canopy model, the thermal transport (sensible and latent heating) induced by the presence of an urban area apparently is more important than associated momentum transport, with latent and sensible heating apparently having equally important roles in the modification of simulated precipitation. Urban surfaces tend to cause the rainfall to be more locally concentrated. High-rise urban cores may bifurcate the path of rainfall as well as increase the area percentage of heavy rainfall.

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Jingjing Dou, Robert Bornstein, Shiguang Miao, Jianning Sun, and Yizhou Zhang

Abstract

The aim of this study was the analysis and simulation of the life cycle of a bifurcating thunderstorm that passed over Beijing, China, on 22 July 2015. Data from 150 surface weather sites and an S-band radar were used in conjunction with WRF simulations that used its multilevel Building Environment Parameterization (BEP) urbanization option. The Urban-case simulation used Beijing land-use information, and the NoUrban one replaced all urban areas by croplands. The Urban case correctly simulated both the observed weak 10-m winds over Beijing (<1.0 m s−1) and the weak 2-m urban heat island (<0.5°C). Observed radar and rain gauge data, as well as the Urban-case results, all showed precipitation bifurcation around Beijing, with maximum accumulations in convergent flow areas on either side of the city. The Urban case also reproduced the observed precipitation minima over the urban area and in a downwind rain shadow. The observations and Urban-case results both also showed bifurcated flow, even when the storm was still upwind of Beijing. The subsequent bifurcated precipitation areas thus each moved along a preexisting flow branch. Urban-case vertical sections showed downward motion in the divergence areas over the urban core and upward motions over the lateral convergence zones, both up to 6 km. Given that the NoUrban case showed none of these features, these differences demonstrate how the impact of cities can extend upward into deep local convection. Additional case-study simulations are needed to more fully understand urban storm bifurcation mechanisms in this and other storms for cities in a variety of climates.

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Ning An, Jingjing Dou, Jorge E. González-Cruz, Robert D. Bornstein, Shiguang Miao, and Lin Li

Abstract

The focus of this study is an intense heat episode that occurred on 9–13 July 2017 in Beijing, China, that resulted in severe impacts on natural and human variables, including record-setting daily electricity consumption levels. This event was observed and analyzed with a suite of local and mesoscale instruments, including a high-density automated weather station network, soil moisture sensors, and ground-based vertical instruments (e.g., a wind profiler, a ceilometer, and three radiometers) situated in and around the city, as well as electric power consumption data and analysis data from the U.S. National Centers for Environmental Prediction. The results show that the heat wave originated from dry adiabatic warming induced by the dynamic downslope and synoptic subsidence. The conditions were aggravated by the increased air humidity during subsequent days, which resulted in historically high records of the heat index (i.e., an index representing the apparent temperature that incorporates both air temperature and moisture). The increased thermal energy and decreased boundary layer height resulted in a highly energized urban boundary layer. The differences between urban and rural thermal conditions throughout almost the entire boundary layer were enhanced during the heat wave, and the canopy-layer urban heat island intensity (UHII) reached up to 8°C at a central urban station at 2300 local standard time 10 July. A double-peak pattern in the diurnal cycle of UHIIs occurred during the heat wave and differed from the single-peak pattern of the decadal average UHII cycles. Different spatial distributions of UHII values occurred during the day and night.

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Yujue Liu, Yubao Liu, Domingo Muñoz-Esparza, Fei Hu, Chao Yan, and Shiguang Miao

Abstract

A multiscale modeling study of a real case has been conducted to explore the capability of the large-eddy simulation version of the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF-LES) over Xiaohaituo Mountain (a game zone for the Beijing, China, 2022 Winter Olympic Games). In comparing WRF-LES results with observations collected during the Mountain Terrain Atmospheric Observations and Modeling (MOUNTAOM) field campaign, it is found that at 37-m resolution with LES settings, the model can reasonably capture both large-scale events and microscale atmospheric circulation characteristics. Employing the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission 1 arc s dataset (SRTM1; ~30 m) high-resolution topographic dataset instead of the traditional USGS_30s (~900 m) dataset effectively improves the model capability for reproducing fluctuations and turbulent features of surface winds. Five sensitivity experiments are conducted to investigate the impact of different PBL treatments, including YSU/Shin and Hong (SH) PBL schemes and LES with 1.5-order turbulence kinetic energy closure model (1.5TKE), Smagorinsky (SMAG), and nonlinear backscatter and anisotropy (NBA) subgrid-scale (SGS) stress models. In this case, at gray-zone scales, differences between YSU and SH are negligible. LES outperform two PBL schemes that generate smaller turbulence kinetic energy and increase the model errors for mean wind speed, energy spectra, and probability density functions of velocity. Another key finding is that wind field features in the boundary layer over complex terrain are more sensitive to the choice of SGS models than above the boundary layer. With the increase of model resolution, the effects of the SGS model become more significant, especially for the statistical characteristics of turbulence. Among these three SGS models, NBA has the best performance. Overall, this study demonstrates that WRF-LES is a promising tool for simulating real weather flows over complex terrain.

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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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Fei Chen, Robert Bornstein, Sue Grimmond, Ju Li, Xudong Liang, Alberto Martilli, Shiguang Miao, James Voogt, and Yingchun Wang
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