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Title: Limitations of one-dimensional mesoscale PBL parameterizations in reproducing mountain-wave flows

In this study, mesoscale models are considered to be the state of the art in modeling mountain-wave flows. Herein, we investigate the role and accuracy of planetary boundary layer (PBL) parameterizations in handling the interaction between large-scale mountain waves and the atmospheric boundary layer. To that end, we use recent large-eddy simulation (LES) results of mountain waves over a symmetric two-dimensional bell-shaped hill [Sauer et al., J. Atmos. Sci. (2015)], and compare them to four commonly used PBL schemes. We find that one-dimensional PBL parameterizations produce reasonable agreement with the LES results in terms of vertical wavelength, amplitude of velocity and turbulent kinetic energy distribution in the downhill shooting flow region. However, the assumption of horizontal homogeneity in PBL parameterizations does not hold in the context of these complex flow configurations. This inappropriate modeling assumption results in a vertical wavelength shift producing errors of ≈ 10 m s–1 at downstream locations due to the presence of a coherent trapped lee wave that does not mix with the atmospheric boundary layer. In contrast, horizontally-integrated momentum flux derived from these PBL schemes displays a realistic pattern. Therefore results from mesoscale models using ensembles of one-dimensional PBL schemes can still potentially be usedmore » to parameterize drag effects in general circulation models. Nonetheless, three-dimensional PBL schemes must be developed in order for mesoscale models to accurately represent complex-terrain and other types of flows where one-dimensional PBL assumptions are violated.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0022-4928
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences; Journal ID: ISSN 0022-4928
American Meteorological Society
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States