Grey zone simulations of the morning convective boundary layer development
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
American Geophysical Union
This is the final version of the article. Available from the American Geophysical Union via the DOI in this record.
Reason for embargo
Numerical simulations of two cases of morning boundary layer development are conducted to investigate the impact of grid resolution on mean profiles and turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) partitioning from the large eddy simulation (LES) to the mesoscale limit. Idealized LES, using the 3-D Smagorinsky scheme, is shown to be capable of reproducing the boundary layer evolution when compared against measurements. However, increasing grid spacing results in the damping of resolved TKE and the production of superadiabatic temperature profiles in the boundary layer. Turbulence initiation is significantly delayed, exhibiting an abrupt onset at intermediate resolutions. Two approaches, the bounding of vertical diffusion coefficient and the blending of the 3-D Smagorinsky with a nonlocal 1D scheme, are used to model subgrid diffusion at grey zone resolutions. Simulations are compared against the coarse-grained fields from the validated LES results for each case. Both methods exhibit particular strengths and weaknesses, indicating the compromise that needs to be made currently in high-resolution numerical weather prediction. The blending scheme is able to reproduce the adiabatic profiles although turbulence is underestimated in favor of the parametrized heat flux, and the spin-up of TKE remains delayed. In contrast, the bounding approach gives an evolution of TKE that follows the coarse-grained LES very well, relying on the resolved motions for the nonlocal heat flux. However, bounding gives unrealistic static instability in the early morning temperature profiles (similar to the 3-D Smagorinsky scheme) because model dynamics are unable to resolve TKE when the boundary layer is too shallow compared to the grid spacing.
This work has been funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) GREYBLS (Modelling Grey Zone Boundary Layers) project (grant NE/K011456/1). We acknowledge the use of the MONSooN system, a collaborative facility supplied under the Joint Weather and Climate Research Programme, which is a strategic partnership between the Met Office and the Natural Environment Research Council.