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Title: Nested mesoscale-to-LES modeling of the atmospheric boundary layer in the presence of under-resolved convective structures

Abstract

Multiscale atmospheric simulations can be computationally prohibitive, as they require large domains and fine spatiotemporal resolutions. Grid-nesting can alleviate this by bridging mesoscales and microscales, but one turbulence scheme must run at resolutions within a range of scales known as the terra incognita (TI). TI grid-cell sizes can violate both mesoscale and microscale subgrid-scale parametrization assumptions, resulting in unrealistic flow structures. Herein we assess the impact of unrealistic lateral boundary conditions from parent mesoscale simulations at TI resolutions on nested large eddy simulations (LES), to determine whether parent domains bias the nested LES. We present a series of idealized nested mesoscale-to-LES runs of a dry convective boundary layer (CBL) with different parent resolutions in the TI. We compare the nested LES with a stand-alone LES with periodic boundary conditions. The nested LES domains develop ~20% smaller convective structures, while potential temperature profiles are nearly identical for both the mesoscales and LES simulations. The horizontal wind speed and surface wind shear in the nested simulations closely resemble the reference LES. Heat fluxes are overestimated by up to ~0.01 K m s –1 in the top half of the PBL for all nested simulations. Overestimates of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) and Reynoldsmore » stress in the nested domains are proportional to the parent domain's grid-cell size, and are almost eliminated for the simulation with the finest parent grid-cell size. Furthermore, based on these results, we recommend that LES of the CBL be forced by mesoscale simulations with the finest practical resolution.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [4]
  1. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States); Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (United States)
  3. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States); National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
  4. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
OSTI Identifier:
1373814
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-16-29427; NREL/JA-5000-70510
Journal ID: ISSN 1942-2466
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396; APUP UGA-0-41026-22; ACI-1126839; AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Published Article
Journal Name:
Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 1942-2466
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Earth Sciences; WRF, LES, mesoscale-to-microscale, Terra Incognita, Convective Boundary Layer, grid-nesting; 17 WIND ENERGY; WRF; LES; terra incognita; convective boundary layer; grid nesting; mesoscale-to-LES

Citation Formats

Mazzaro, Laura J., Munoz-Esparza, Domingo, Lundquist, Julie K., and Linn, Rodman R.. Nested mesoscale-to-LES modeling of the atmospheric boundary layer in the presence of under-resolved convective structures. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1002/2017MS000912.
Mazzaro, Laura J., Munoz-Esparza, Domingo, Lundquist, Julie K., & Linn, Rodman R.. Nested mesoscale-to-LES modeling of the atmospheric boundary layer in the presence of under-resolved convective structures. United States. doi:10.1002/2017MS000912.
Mazzaro, Laura J., Munoz-Esparza, Domingo, Lundquist, Julie K., and Linn, Rodman R.. 2017. "Nested mesoscale-to-LES modeling of the atmospheric boundary layer in the presence of under-resolved convective structures". United States. doi:10.1002/2017MS000912.
@article{osti_1373814,
title = {Nested mesoscale-to-LES modeling of the atmospheric boundary layer in the presence of under-resolved convective structures},
author = {Mazzaro, Laura J. and Munoz-Esparza, Domingo and Lundquist, Julie K. and Linn, Rodman R.},
abstractNote = {Multiscale atmospheric simulations can be computationally prohibitive, as they require large domains and fine spatiotemporal resolutions. Grid-nesting can alleviate this by bridging mesoscales and microscales, but one turbulence scheme must run at resolutions within a range of scales known as the terra incognita (TI). TI grid-cell sizes can violate both mesoscale and microscale subgrid-scale parametrization assumptions, resulting in unrealistic flow structures. Herein we assess the impact of unrealistic lateral boundary conditions from parent mesoscale simulations at TI resolutions on nested large eddy simulations (LES), to determine whether parent domains bias the nested LES. We present a series of idealized nested mesoscale-to-LES runs of a dry convective boundary layer (CBL) with different parent resolutions in the TI. We compare the nested LES with a stand-alone LES with periodic boundary conditions. The nested LES domains develop ~20% smaller convective structures, while potential temperature profiles are nearly identical for both the mesoscales and LES simulations. The horizontal wind speed and surface wind shear in the nested simulations closely resemble the reference LES. Heat fluxes are overestimated by up to ~0.01 K m s–1 in the top half of the PBL for all nested simulations. Overestimates of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) and Reynolds stress in the nested domains are proportional to the parent domain's grid-cell size, and are almost eliminated for the simulation with the finest parent grid-cell size. Furthermore, based on these results, we recommend that LES of the CBL be forced by mesoscale simulations with the finest practical resolution.},
doi = {10.1002/2017MS000912},
journal = {Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems},
number = 4,
volume = 9,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month = 7
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record at 10.1002/2017MS000912

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  • Multiscale atmospheric simulations can be computationally prohibitive, as they require large domains and fine spatiotemporal resolutions. Grid-nesting can alleviate this by bridging mesoscales and microscales, but one turbulence scheme must run at resolutions within a range of scales known as the terra incognita (TI). TI grid-cell sizes can violate both mesoscale and microscale subgrid-scale parametrization assumptions, resulting in unrealistic flow structures. Herein we assess the impact of unrealistic lateral boundary conditions from parent mesoscale simulations at TI resolutions on nested large eddy simulations (LES), to determine whether parent domains bias the nested LES. We present a series of idealized nestedmore » mesoscale-to-LES runs of a dry convective boundary layer (CBL) with different parent resolutions in the TI. We compare the nested LES with a stand-alone LES with periodic boundary conditions. The nested LES domains develop ~20% smaller convective structures, while potential temperature profiles are nearly identical for both the mesoscales and LES simulations. The horizontal wind speed and surface wind shear in the nested simulations closely resemble the reference LES. Heat fluxes are overestimated by up to ~0.01 K m s-1 in the top half of the PBL for all nested simulations. Overestimates of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) and Reynolds stress in the nested domains are proportional to the parent domain's grid-cell size, and are almost eliminated for the simulation with the finest parent grid-cell size. Based on these results, we recommend that LES of the CBL be forced by mesoscale simulations with the finest practical resolution.« less
  • Multiscale atmospheric simulations can be computationally prohibitive, as they require large domains and fine spatiotemporal resolutions. Grid-nesting can alleviate this by bridging mesoscales and microscales, but one turbulence scheme must run at resolutions within a range of scales known as the terra incognita (TI). TI grid-cell sizes can violate both mesoscale and microscale subgrid-scale parametrization assumptions, resulting in unrealistic flow structures. Herein we assess the impact of unrealistic lateral boundary conditions from parent mesoscale simulations at TI resolutions on nested large eddy simulations (LES), to determine whether parent domains bias the nested LES. We present a series of idealized nestedmore » mesoscale-to-LES runs of a dry convective boundary layer (CBL) with different parent resolutions in the TI. We compare the nested LES with a stand-alone LES with periodic boundary conditions. The nested LES domains develop ~20% smaller convective structures, while potential temperature profiles are nearly identical for both the mesoscales and LES simulations. The horizontal wind speed and surface wind shear in the nested simulations closely resemble the reference LES. Heat fluxes are overestimated by up to ~0.01 K m s –1 in the top half of the PBL for all nested simulations. Overestimates of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) and Reynolds stress in the nested domains are proportional to the parent domain's grid-cell size, and are almost eliminated for the simulation with the finest parent grid-cell size. Furthermore, based on these results, we recommend that LES of the CBL be forced by mesoscale simulations with the finest practical resolution.« less
  • The paper presents an extended theoretical background for applied modeling of the atmospheric convective boundary layer within the so-called zero-order jump approach, which implies vertical homogeneity of meteorological fields in the bulk of convective boundary layer (CBL) and zero-order discontinuities of variables at the interfaces of the layer. The zero-order jump model equations for the most typical cases of CBL are derived. The models of nonsteady, horizontally homogeneous CBL with and without shear, extensively studied in the past with the aid of zero-order jump models, are shown to be particular cases of the general zero-order jump theoretical framework. The integralmore » budgets of momentum and heat are considered for different types of dry CBL. The profiles of vertical turbulent fluxes are presented and analyzed. The general version of the equation of CBL depth growth rate (entrainment rate equation) is obtained by the integration of the turbulence kinetic energy balance equation, invoking basic assumptions of the zero-order parameterizations of the CBL vertical structure. The problems of parameterizing the turbulence vertical structure and closure of the entrainment rate equation for specific cases of CBL are discussed. A parameterization scheme for the horizontal turbulent exchange in zero-order jump models of CBL is proposed. The developed theory is generalized for the case of CBL over irregular terrain. 28 refs., 2 figs.« less
  • Multiscale modeling of a diurnal cycle of real-world conditions is presented for the first time, validated using data from the CWEX-13 field experiment. Dynamical downscaling from synoptic-scale down to resolved three-dimensional eddies in the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) was performed, spanning 4 orders of magnitude in horizontal grid resolution: from 111 km down to 8.2 m (30 m) in stable (convective) conditions. Computationally efficient mesoscale-to-microscale transition was made possible by the generalized cell perturbation method with time-varying parameters derived from mesoscale forcing conditions, which substantially reduced the fetch to achieve fully developed turbulence. In addition, careful design of the simulationsmore » was made to inhibit the presence of under-resolved convection at convection-resolving mesoscale resolution and to ensure proper turbulence representation in stably-stratified conditions. Comparison to in situ wind-profiling lidar and near-surface sonic anemometer measurements demonstrated the ability to reproduce the ABL structure throughout the entire diurnal cycle with a high degree of fidelity. The multiscale simulations exhibit realistic atmospheric features such as convective rolls and global intermittency. Also, the diurnal evolution of turbulence was accurately simulated, with probability density functions of resolved turbulent velocity fluctuations nearly identical to the lidar measurements. Explicit representation of turbulence in the stably-stratified ABL was found to provide the right balance with larger scales, resulting in the development of intra-hour variability as observed by the wind lidar; this variability was not captured by the mesoscale model. Moreover, multiscale simulations improved mean ABL characteristics such as horizontal velocity, vertical wind shear, and turbulence.« less