Improved understanding of transport issues and source-receptor relationships on the interregional scale is dependent on reducing the uncertainties in the ability to define complex three-dimensional wind fields evolving in time. The numerical models used for this purpose have been upgraded substantially in recent years by introducing finer grid resolution, better representation of subgrid-scale physics, and practical four-dimensional data assimilation (FDDA) techniques that reduce the accumulation of errors over time. The impact of these improvements for interregional transport is investigated in this paper using the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University-National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model (MM5) and the Second-Order Closure Integrated Puff (SCIPUFF) dispersion model to simulate the 1983 Cross-Appalachian Tracer Experiment (CAPTEX-83) episode 1 of 18-19 September 1983. Combining MM5 and SCIPUFF makes it possible to verify predicted tracer concentrations against observed surface concentrations collected during the CAPTEX-83 study. Conclusions from this study are as follows. 1) Not surprisingly, a baseline model configuration reflecting typical capabilities of the late 1980s (70-km horizontal grid, 15 vertical layers, older subgrid physics, and no FDDA) produced large meteorological errors that severely degraded the accuracy of the surface tracer concentrations predicted by SCIPUFF. 2) Improving the horizontal and vertical resolution of the MM5 to 12 km (typical for current operational model) and 32 layers led to some improvements in the statistical skill, but the further addition of more advanced physics produced much greater reductions of simulation errors. 3) The use of FDDA, along with 12-km resolution and improved physics, produced the overall best performance. 4) Further reduction of the horizontal grid size to 4 km had a detrimental effect on meteorological and plume-dispersion solutions in this case because of misrepresentation of convection associated with a cold front by the MM5's explicit moist physics.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science