TITLE

High resolution numerical modeling of mesoscale island wakes and sensitivity to static topographic relief data

AUTHOR(S)
Nunalee, C. G.; Horváth, Á.; Basu, S.
PUB. DATE
March 2015
SOURCE
Geoscientific Model Development Discussions;2015, Vol. 8 Issue 3, p2973
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Recent decades have witnessed a drastic increase in the fidelity of numerical weather prediction (NWP) modeling. Currently, both research-grade and operational NWP models regularly perform simulations with horizontal grid spacings as fine as 1 km. This migration towards higher resolution potentially improves NWP model solutions by increasing the resolvability of mesoscale processes and reducing dependency on empirical physics parameterizations. However, at the same time, the accuracy of highresolution simulations, particularly in the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL), are also sensitive to orographic forcing which can have significant variability on the same spatial scale as, or smaller than, NWP model grids. Despite this sensitivity, many high resolution atmospheric simulations do not consider uncertainty with respect to selection of static terrain height dataset. In this paper, we use the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to simulate realistic cases of lower tropospheric flow over and downstream of mountainous islands using both the default global 30 s United States Geographic Survey terrain height dataset (GTOPO30) and the 3 s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) terrain height dataset. Our results demonstrate cases where the differences between GTOPO30-based and SRTM-based model terrain height are significant enough to produce entirely different orographic wake mechanics, such as vortex shedding vs. no vortex shedding. These results are also compared to MODIS visible satellite imagery and highlight the importance of considering uncertain static boundary conditions when running high-resolution mesoscale models.
ACCESSION #
101946455

 

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