A length scale defining partially-resolved boundary-layer turbulence simulations
Beare, Robert J.
Numerical weather prediction (NWP) model forecasts at horizontal grid lengths in the range of 100 m to 1 km are now possible. Within this range of grid lengths, the convective boundary layer (CBL) is partially resolved and thus in the so-called 'grey zone'. For simulations in the grey zone, numerical dissipation sources from both the advection scheme and the subgrid model are likely to be significant. Until now, these effects have not been incorporated fully into our understanding of the grey zone. In order to quantify these effects, a dissipation length scale is defined based on the second moment of the turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) spectrum. An ensemble of simulations of a CBL are performed using a large-eddy model across the grey-zone resolutions and for a range of subgrid model, advection scheme and vertical grid configurations. The dissipation length scale distinguishes the effects of the different model configurations in the grey zone. In the middle of the boundary layer, the resolved TKE is strongly controlled by the numerical dissipation. This leads to a similarity law for the resolved TKE in the grey zone using the dissipation length scale. A new definition of the grey zone emerges where the inversion depth and dissipation length scale are the same size. This contrasts with the typical definition using the horizontal grid length. At the inversion, however, the variation of the dissipation length scale with grid length is less predictable, reflecting significant challenges for modelling entrainment in the grey zone. The dissipation length scale is thus a simple diagnostic to aid both NWP and large-eddy modellers in understanding the grey zone. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Springer via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 151, pp. 39 - 55