A Review of Planetary Boundary Layer Parameterization Schemes and Their Sensitivity in Simulating Southeastern U.S. Cold Season Severe Weather Environments

Ariel E. Cohen, Steven M. Cavallo, Michael C. Coniglio, Harold E. Brooks
2015 Weather and forecasting  
The representation of turbulent mixing within the lower troposphere is needed to accurately portray the vertical thermodynamic and kinematic profiles of the atmosphere in mesoscale model forecasts. For mesoscale models, turbulence is mostly a subgrid-scale process, but its presence in the planetary boundary layer (PBL) can directly modulate a simulation's depiction of mass fields relevant for forecast problems. The primary goal of this work is to review the various parameterization schemes that
more » ... zation schemes that the Weather Research and Forecasting Model employs in its depiction of turbulent mixing (PBL schemes) in general, and is followed by an application to a severe weather environment. Each scheme represents mixing on a local and/or nonlocal basis. Local schemes only consider immediately adjacent vertical levels in the model, whereas nonlocal schemes can consider a deeper layer covering multiple levels in representing the effects of vertical mixing through the PBL. As an application, a pair of cold season severe weather events that occurred in the southeastern United States are examined. Such cases highlight the ambiguities of classically defined PBL schemes in a cold season severe weather environment, though characteristics of the PBL schemes are apparent in this case. Low-level lapse rates and storm-relative helicity are typically steeper and slightly smaller for nonlocal than local schemes, respectively. Nonlocal mixing is necessary to more accurately forecast the lower-tropospheric lapse rates within the warm sector of these events. While all schemes yield overestimations of mixed-layer convective available potential energy (MLCAPE), nonlocal schemes more strongly overestimate MLCAPE than do local schemes. 1 Herein, we refer to models with grid spacing fine enough to allow explicit representation of convection (;1-4 km) as mesoscale models because the smallest fully resolvable scales are typically in the meso-g-scale range. JUNE 2015
doi:10.1175/waf-d-14-00105.1 fatcat:4ksjnpmx45e3hbgcog77feyws4