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Resolution dependence of turbulent structures in convective boundary layer simulations

Bopape, M.-J. M., Plant, R. S. ORCID: and Coceal, O. ORCID: (2020) Resolution dependence of turbulent structures in convective boundary layer simulations. Atmosphere, 11 (9). 986. ISSN 2073-4433

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3390/atmos11090986


Large-eddy simulations are performed using the UK Met Office Large Eddy Model to study the effects of resolution on turbulent structures in a convective boundary layer. A standard Smagorinsky subgrid scheme is used. As the grid length is increased the diagnosed height of the boundary layer increases and the horizontally- and temporally-averaged temperature near the surface and in the inversion layer increase. At the highest resolution, quadrant analysis shows that the majority of events in the lower boundary layer are associated with cold descending air, followed by warm ascending air. The largest contribution to the total heat flux is made by warm ascending air, with associated strong thermals. At lower resolutions, the contribution to the heat flux from cold descending air is increased and that from cold ascending air is reduced in the lower boundary layer; around the inversion layer, however, the contribution from cold ascending air is increased. Calculations of the heating rate show that the differences in cold ascending air are responsible for the warm bias below the boundary layer top in the low resolution simulations. Correlation length and time scales for coherent resolved structures increase with increasing grid coarseness. The results overall suggest that differences in the simulations are due to weaker mixing between thermals and their environment at lower resolutions. Some simple numerical experiments are performed to increase the mixing in the lower-resolution simulations and to investigate backscatter. Such simulations are successful in reducing the contribution of cold ascending air to the heat flux just below the inversion, although the effects in the lower boundary layer are weaker.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:92775
Uncontrolled Keywords:coherent structures; convective boundary layer; grey zone; large-eddy simulations; quadrant analysis


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