Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 17 items for

  • Author or Editor: Temple R. Lee x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Temple R. Lee
and
Sandip Pal

Abstract

Rawinsonde observations have long been used to estimate the atmospheric boundary layer depth (BLD), which is an important parameter for monitoring air quality, dispersion studies, weather forecast models, and inversion systems for estimating regional surface–atmosphere fluxes of tracers. Although many approaches exist for deriving the BLDs from rawinsonde observations, the bulk Richardson approach has been found to be most appropriate. However, the impact of errors in the measured thermodynamic and kinematic fields on the estimated BLDs remains unexplored. We argue that quantifying BLD error (δBLD) estimates is equally as important as the BLDs themselves. Here we quantified δBLD by applying the bulk Richardson method to 35 years of rawinsonde data obtained from three stations in the United States: Sterling, Virginia; Amarillo, Texas; and Salt Lake City, Utah. Results revealed similar features in terms of their respective errors. A −2°C bias in temperature yielded a mean δBLD ranging from −15 to 200 m. A +2°C bias in temperature yielded a mean δBLD ranging from −214 to +18 m. For a −5% relative humidity bias, the mean δBLD ranged from −302 to +7 m. For a +5% relative humidity bias, the mean δBLD ranged from +2 to +249 m. Differences of ±2 m s−1 in the winds yielded BLD errors of ~±300 m. The δBLD increased as a function of BLD when introducing errors to the thermodynamic fields and decreased as a function of BLD when introducing errors to the kinematic fields. These findings expand upon previous work evaluating rawinsonde-derived δBLD by quantifying δBLD arising from rawinsonde-derived thermodynamic and kinematic measurements. Knowledge of δBLD is critical in, for example, intercomparison studies where rawinsonde-derived BLDs are used as references.

Open access
Temple R. Lee
and
Michael Buban

Abstract

The Land–Atmosphere Feedback Experiment (LAFE) was a field campaign to investigate influences of different land surface types on the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL). The primary goals of LAFE were to better understand ABL development and structure and to improve turbulence parameterizations in numerical weather prediction models. Three 10-m micrometeorological towers were installed over different land surface types (i.e., early growth soybean, native grassland, and mature soybean) along a 1.7-km southwest–northeast-oriented line. All towers measured standard meteorological variables in addition to heat, moisture, and momentum fluxes. In this study, we used these measurements to evaluate the validity of applying Monin–Obukhov similarity theory (MOST) to represent surface–atmosphere exchange over different land surface types. We investigated relationships between stability length ζ and the dimensionless wind shear ϕ m , temperature gradient ϕ h , and moisture gradient ϕ q as well as relationships between bulk Richardson number Ri b , friction coefficient C u , heat-transfer coefficient C t , and moisture-transfer coefficient C r . We evaluated the new similarity functions developed using independent datasets obtained during the Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment-Southeast (VORTEX-SE). We found that using the Ri b functions rather than the more traditional ζ functions to compute wind, temperature, and moisture yielded better agreement with the VORTEX-SE observations. These findings underscore limitations in MOST and motivate the need to consider modifying the functional forms of the similarity equations that form the basis for surface-layer parameterizations in numerical weather prediction models.

Free access
Temple R. Lee
and
Tilden P. Meyers

Abstract

Recent work has shown that bulk-Richardson (Ri b ) parameterizations for friction velocity, sensible heat flux, and latent heat flux have similar, and in some instances better, performance than long-standing parameterizations from Monin–Obukhov similarity theory (MOST). In this work, we expanded upon new Ri b parameterizations and developed parameterizations of turbulence statistics, i.e., standard deviations in the 30-min u (horizontal), υ (meridional), and w (vertical) wind components (i.e., σu , συ , and σw , respectively), which allowed us to derive Ri b -based parameterizations of turbulent kinetic energy (e), and standard deviations in the 30-min temperature and moisture measurements (σθ and σq , respectively). We used datasets from three 10-m micrometeorological towers installed during the Land Atmosphere Feedback Experiment (LAFE) conducted in Oklahoma from 1 to 31 August 2017 and evaluated the new parameterizations by comparing them against parameterizations from MOST. We used the LAFE datasets and fully independent datasets obtained from two micrometeorological towers installed in Alabama between February 2016 and April 2017 to evaluate the performance of the parameterizations. Based on the slope of the relationship between the observed and parameterized turbulence statistics (mb ) and the coefficient of correlation (r), we found that the Ri b relationships generally performed better than MOST at parameterizing συ , σw , σθ , and σq , and the Ri b relationships performed better at low wind speeds than at high wind speeds. These results, coupled with recent developments of Ri b parameterizations for surface-layer momentum, heat, and moisture fluxes, provide further evidence to consider using Ri b -based parameterizations in weather forecasting models.

Significance Statement

Deficiencies in Monin–Obukhov similarity theory (MOST) are well known, yet MOST forms the basis in weather forecasting models for describing heat, moisture, and momentum transfer between the land surface and atmosphere. We expanded upon previous work suggesting a MOST alternative called the bulk-Richardson approach. We used data collected from meteorological towers installed in Oklahoma and compared the bulk-Richardson approach with MOST. We evaluated these two approaches using data from meteorological towers installed in Oklahoma and Alabama and found that, overall, the bulk-Richardson approach performed better than MOST in determining the 30-min variability in temperature, moisture, and wind. This result provides additional motivation to use a bulk-Richardson approach in weather forecasting models because doing so will likely yield improved forecasts.

Free access
Temple R. Lee
,
Michael Buban
,
Edward Dumas
, and
C. Bruce Baker

Abstract

Upscaling point measurements from micrometeorological towers is a challenging task that is important for a variety of applications, for example, in process studies of convection initiation, carbon and energy budget studies, and the improvement of model parameterizations. In the present study, a technique was developed to determine the horizontal variability in sensible heat flux H surrounding micrometeorological towers. The technique was evaluated using 15-min flux observations, as well as measurements of land surface temperature and air temperature obtained from small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) conducted during a one-day measurement campaign. The computed H was found to be comparable to the micrometeorological measurements to within 5–10 W m−2. Furthermore, when comparing H computed using this technique with H determined using large-eddy simulations (LES), differences of <10 W m−2 were typically found. Thus, implementing this technique using observations from sUAS will help determine sensible heat flux variability at horizontal spatial scales larger than can be provided from flux tower measurements alone.

Full access
Michael S. Buban
,
Temple R. Lee
, and
C. Bruce Baker

Abstract

Since drought and excessive rainfall can have significant socioeconomic impacts, it is important to have accurate high-resolution gridded datasets that can help improve analysis and forecasting of these conditions. One such widely used dataset is the Parameter-Elevation Regressions on Independent Slopes Model (PRISM). PRISM uses a digital elevation model (DEM) to obtain gridded elevation analyses and then uses a regression analysis along with approximately 15 000 surface precipitation measurements to produce a 4-km resolution daily precipitation product over the conterminous United States. The U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) consists of 114 stations that take highly accurate meteorological measurements across all regions of the United States. A comparison between the USCRN and PRISM was performed using data from 2006 to 2018. There were good comparisons between the two datasets across nearly all seasons and regions; most mean daily differences were <1 mm, with most absolute daily differences ~5 mm. The most general characteristics were for a net dry bias in the PRISM data in the Southwest and a net moist bias in the southern United States. Verifying the PRISM dataset provides us with confidence it can be used with estimates of evapotranspiration, high-resolution gridded soil properties, and vegetation datasets to produce a daily gridded soil moisture product for operational use in the analyses and prediction of drought and excessive soil moisture conditions.

Free access
Temple R. Lee
and
Stephan F. J. De Wekker

Abstract

The planetary boundary layer (PBL) height is an essential parameter required for many applications, including weather forecasting and dispersion modeling for air quality. Estimates of PBL height are not easily available and often come from twice-daily rawinsonde observations at airports, typically at 0000 and 1200 UTC. Questions often arise regarding the applicability of PBL heights retrieved from these twice-daily observations to surrounding locations. Obtaining this information requires knowledge of the spatial variability of PBL heights. This knowledge is particularly limited in regions with mountainous terrain. The goal of this study is to develop a method for estimating daytime PBL heights in the Page Valley, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The approach includes using 1) rawinsonde observations from the nearest sounding station [Dulles Airport (IAD)], which is located 90 km northeast of the Page Valley, 2) North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) output, and 3) simulations with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model. When selecting days on which PBL heights from NARR compare well to PBL heights determined from the IAD soundings, it is found that PBL heights are higher (on the order of 200–400 m) over the Page Valley than at IAD and that these differences are typically larger in summer than in winter. WRF simulations indicate that larger sensible heat fluxes and terrain-following characteristics of PBL height both contribute to PBL heights being higher over the Page Valley than at IAD.

Full access
Nicholas E. Clark
,
Sandip Pal
, and
Temple R. Lee

Abstract

Despite many observational studies on the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) depth zi variability across various time scales (e.g., diurnal, seasonal, annual, and decadal), zi variability before, during, and after frontal passages over land, or simply zi variability as a function of weather patterns, has remained relatively unexplored. In this study, we provide an empirical framework using 5 years (2014–18) of daytime rawinsonde observations and surface analyses over 18 central and southeastern U.S. sites to report zi variability across frontal boundaries. By providing systematic observations of front-relative contrasts in zi (i.e., zi differences between warm and cold sectors, Δ z i = z i Warm z i Cold ) and boundary layer moisture (i.e., ABL-q) regimes in summer and winter, we propose a new paradigm to study zi changes across cold-frontal boundaries. For most cases, we found deeper zi over the warm sector than the cold sector in both summer and winter, although with significant site-to-site variability in Δzi . Additionally, our results show a positive Δq ABL (i.e., frontal contrasts in ABL-q) in summer and winter, supporting what is typically observed in midlatitude cyclones. We found that a front-relative Δq ABL of 1 g kg−1 often yielded at least a 100-m Δzi across the frontal boundary in both summer and winter. This work provides a synoptic-scale basis for zi variability and establishes a foundation for model verification to examine the impact of airmass exchange associated with advection on zi . This work will advance our understanding of ABL processes in synoptic environments and help unravel sources of front-relative zi variability.

Significance Statement

The atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) is the lowermost part of the atmosphere adjacent to Earth’s surface. The irregular motion of air inside the ABL plays an essential role in relocating air near the surface to the free troposphere. Meteorologists use ABL depth in weather forecast models to determine the atmosphere’s ability to dilute or enrich tracers within the ABL. However, knowledge about the changes in ABL depth during stormy conditions remains incomplete. Here, we investigate how the ABL depth varies before and after cold-frontal passages. We found that ABL depths were much deeper before the cold-frontal passages than after. This knowledge will help us develop new approaches to consider how storms modify the ABL in weather forecast models.

Open access
Temple R. Lee
,
Michael Buban
, and
Tilden P. Meyers

Abstract

Monin–Obukhov similarity theory (MOST) has long been used to represent surface–atmosphere exchange in numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. However, recent work has shown that bulk Richardson (Ri b ) parameterizations, rather than traditional MOST formulations, better represent near-surface wind, temperature, and moisture gradients. So far, this work has only been applied to unstable atmospheric regimes. In this study, we extended Ri b parameterizations to stable regimes and developed parameterizations for the friction velocity (u *), sensible heat flux (H), and latent heat flux (E) using datasets from the Land-Atmosphere Feedback Experiment (LAFE). We tested our new Ri b parameterizations using datasets from the Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment-Southeast (VORTEX-SE) and compared the new Ri b parameterizations with traditional MOST parameterizations and MOST parameterizations obtained using the LAFE datasets. We found that fitting coefficients in the MOST parameterizations developed from LAFE datasets differed from the fitting coefficients in classical MOST parameterizations which we attributed to the land surface heterogeneity present in the LAFE domain. Regardless, the new Ri b parameterizations performed just as well as, and in some instances better than, the classical MOST parameterizations and the MOST parameterizations developed from the LAFE datasets. The improvement was most evident for H, particularly for H under unstable conditions, which was based on a better 1:1 relationship between the parameterized and observed values. These findings provide motivation to transition away from MOST and to implement bulk Richardson parameterizations into NWP models to represent surface–atmosphere exchange.

Full access
Temple R. Lee
,
Michael Buban
,
David D. Turner
,
Tilden P. Meyers
, and
C. Bruce Baker

Abstract

The High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model became operational at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) in 2014 but the HRRR’s performance over certain regions of the coterminous United States has not been well studied. In the present study, we evaluated how well version 2 of the HRRR, which became operational at NCEP in August 2016, simulates the near-surface meteorological fields and the surface energy balance at two locations in northern Alabama. We evaluated the 1-, 3-, 6-, 12-, and 18-h HRRR forecasts, as well as the HRRR’s initial conditions (i.e., the 0-h initial fields) using meteorological and flux observations obtained from two 10-m micrometeorological towers installed near Belle Mina and Cullman, Alabama. During the 8-month model evaluation period, from 1 September 2016 to 30 April 2017, we found that the HRRR accurately simulated the observations of near-surface air and dewpoint temperature (R 2 > 0.95). When comparing the HRRR output with the observed sensible, latent, and ground heat flux at both sites, we found that the agreement was weaker (R 2 ≈ 0.7), and the root-mean-square errors were much larger than those found for the near-surface meteorological variables. These findings help motivate the need for additional work to improve the representation of surface fluxes and their coupling to the atmosphere in future versions of the HRRR to be more physically realistic.

Full access
Temple R. Lee
,
Ronald D. Leeper
,
Tim Wilson
,
Howard J. Diamond
,
Tilden P. Meyers
, and
David D. Turner

Abstract

The ability of high-resolution mesoscale models to simulate near-surface and subsurface meteorological processes is critical for representing land–atmosphere feedback processes. The High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model is a 3-km numerical weather prediction model that has been used operationally since 2014. In this study, we evaluated the HRRR over the contiguous United States from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021. We compared the 1-, 3-, 6-, 12-, 18-, 24-, 30-, and 48-h forecasts against observations of air and surface temperature, shortwave radiation, and soil temperature and moisture from the 114 stations of the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) and evaluated the HRRR’s performance for different geographic regions and land cover types. We found that the HRRR well simulated air and surface temperatures, but underestimated soil temperatures when temperatures were subfreezing. The HRRR had the largest overestimates in shortwave radiation under cloudy skies, and there was a positive relationship between the shortwave radiation mean bias error (MBE) and air temperature MBE that was stronger in summer than winter. Additionally, the HRRR underestimated soil moisture when the values exceeded about 0.2 m3 m−3, but overestimated soil moisture when measurements were below this value. Consequently, the HRRR exhibited a positive soil moisture MBE over the drier areas of the western United States and a negative MBE over the eastern United States. Although caution is needed when applying conclusions regarding HRRR’s biases to locations with subgrid-scale land cover variations, general knowledge of HRRR’s biases will help guide improvements to land surface models used in high-resolution weather forecasting models.

Significance Statement

Weather forecasters rely upon output from many different models. However, the models’ ability to represent processes happening near the land surface over short time scales is critical for producing accurate weather forecasts. In this study, we evaluated the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model using observations from the U.S. Climate Reference Network, which currently includes 114 reference climate observing stations in the contiguous United States. These stations provide highly accurate measurements of air temperature, precipitation, soil temperature, and soil moisture. Our findings helped illustrate conditions when the HRRR performs well, but also conditions in which the HRRR can be improved, which we expect will motivate ongoing improvements to the HRRR and other weather forecasting models.

Open access