WRF Model Study of the Great Plains Low-Level Jet: Effects of Grid Spacing and Boundary Layer Parameterization

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model often underpredicts the strength of the Great Plains nocturnal low-level jet (NLLJ), which has implications for weather, climate, aviation, air quality, and wind energy in the region. During the Lower Atmospheric Boundary Layer Experiment (LABLE) conducted in 2012, NLLJs were frequently observed at high temporal resolution, allowing for detailed documentation of their development and evolution throughout the night. Ten LABLE cases with observed NLLJs were chosen to systematically evaluate the WRF Model’s ability to reproduce the observed NLLJs. Model runs were performed with 4-, 2-, and 1-km horizontal spacing and with the default stretched vertical grid and a nonstretched 40-m vertically spaced grid to investigate which grid configurations are optimal for NLLJ modeling. These tests were conducted using three common boundary layer parameterization schemes: Mellor-Yamada Nakanishi Niino, Yonsei University, and Quasi-Normal Scale Elimination. It was found that refining horizontal spacing does not necessarily improve the modeled NLLJ wind. Increasing the number of vertical levels on a non-stretched grid provides more information about the structure of the NLLJ with some schemes, but the benefit is limited by computational expense and model stability. Simulations of the NLLJ were found to be less sensitive to boundary layer parameterization than to grid configuration. The Quasi-Normal Scale Elimination scheme was chosen for future NLLJ simulation studies.

Publication
Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 57, 2375–2397
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Dr. Elizabeth N. Smith
Dr. Elizabeth N. Smith
Research Meteorologist

Elizabeth joined NSSL as a research meteorologist in January 2020, where she focuses on boundary-layer processes relevant to near- and pre-storm environments and convection initiation.

Dr. Jeremy A. Gibbs
Dr. Jeremy A. Gibbs
Research Meteorologist

My name is Jeremy Gibbs. I am a Research Meteorologist at the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory. My research includes computational and theoretical studies of atmospheric boundary-layer flows, turbulence modeling, land-surface modeling, parameterization of boundary-layer and surface-layer interactions, and multi-scale numerical weather prediction. I am currently working on projects to improve atmospheric models in the areas of scale-aware boundary-layer physics, heterogeneous boundary layers, and other storm-scale phenomena.

Dr. Petra Klein
Dr. Petra Klein
Professor, Executive Associate Dean

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