On improving 4-km mesoscale model simulations

Aijun Deng, David R. Stauffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Scopus citations

Abstract

A previous study showed that use of analysis-nudging four-dimensional data assimilation (FDDA) and improved physics in the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University-National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model (MM5) produced the best overall performance on a 12-km-domain simulation, based on the 18-19 September 1983 Cross-Appalachian Tracer Experiment (CAPTEX) case. However, reducing the simulated grid length to 4 km had detrimental effects. The primary cause was likely the explicit representation of convection accompanying a cold-frontal system. Because no convective parameterization scheme (CPS) was used, the convective updrafts were forced on coarser-than-realistic scales, and the rainfall and the atmospheric response to the convection were too strong. The evaporative cooling and downdrafts were too vigorous, causing widespread disruption of the low-level winds and spurious advection of the simulated tracer. In this study, a series of experiments was designed to address this general problem involving 4-km model precipitation and gridpoint storms and associated model sensitivities to the use of FDDA, planetary boundary layer (PBL) turbulence physics, grid-explicit microphysics, a CPS, and enhanced horizontal diffusion. Some of the conclusions include the following: 1) Enhanced parameterized vertical mixing in the turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) turbulence scheme has shown marked improvements in the simulated fields. 2) Use of a CPS on the 4-km grid improved the precipitation and low-level wind results. 3) Use of the Hong and Pan Medium-Range Forecast PBL scheme showed larger model errors within the PBL and a clear tendency to predict much deeper PBL heights than the TKE scheme. 4) Combining observation-nudging FDDA with a CPS produced the best overall simulations. 5) Finer horizontal resolution does not always produce better simulations, especially in convectively unstable environments, and a new CPS suitable for 4-km resolution is needed. 6) Although use of current CPSs may violate their underlying assumptions related to the size of the convective element relative to the grid size, the gridpoint storm problem was greatly reduced by applying a CPS to the 4-km grid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-381
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Volume45
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2006

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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