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

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
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:
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
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
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
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)
Country of Publication:
United States
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
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1373815; OSTI ID: 1375171; OSTI ID: 1409008