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Convective updraught evaluation in high-resolution NWP simulations using single-Doppler radar measurements

Nicol, J., Hogan, R., Stein, T., Hanley, K., Clark, P., Halliwell, C. E., Lean, H. W. and Plant, R. S. (2015) Convective updraught evaluation in high-resolution NWP simulations using single-Doppler radar measurements. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 141 (693). pp. 3177-3189. ISSN 1477-870X

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1002/qj.2602

Abstract/Summary

This study presents an evaluation of the size and strength of convective updraughts in high-resolution simulations by the UK Met Office Unified Model (UM). Updraught velocities have been estimated from range–height indicator (RHI) Doppler velocity measurements using the Chilbolton advanced meteorological radar, as part of the Dynamical and Microphysical Evolution of Convective Storms (DYMECS) project. Based on mass continuity and the vertical integration of the observed radial convergence, vertical velocities tend to be underestimated for convective clouds due to the undetected cross-radial convergence. Velocity fields from the UM at a resolution corresponding to the radar observations are used to scale such estimates to mitigate the inherent biases. The analysis of more than 100 observed and simulated storms indicates that the horizontal scale of updraughts in simulations tend to decrease with grid length; the 200 m grid length agreed most closely with the observations. Typical updraught mass fluxes in the 500 m grid length simulations were up to an order of magnitude greater than observed, and greater still in the 1.5 km grid length simulations. The effect of increasing the mixing length in the sub-grid turbulence scheme depends on the grid length. For the 1.5 km simulations, updraughts were weakened though their horizontal scale remained largely unchanged. Progressively more so for the sub-kilometre grid lengths, updraughts were broadened and intensified; horizontal scale was now determined by the mixing length rather than the grid length. In general, simulated updraughts were found to weaken too quickly with height. The findings were supported by the analysis of the widths of reflectivity patterns in both the simulations and observations.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:40580
Uncontrolled Keywords:Numerical Weather Prediction, grid length, convective updraught, single-Doppler radar retrievals, vertical velocities, sub-grid turbulence
Publisher:Royal Meteorological Society

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