Document Type


Publication Date



Fair-weather data along the May-June 2002 International H2O Project (IHOP_2002) eastern track and the nearby Argonne Boundary Layer Experiments (ABLE) facility in southeast Kansas are compared to numerical simulations to gain insight into how the surface influences convective boundary layer (CBL) structure, and to evaluate the success of the modeling system in replicating the observed behavior. Simulations are conducted for 4 days, using the Advanced Research version of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model coupled to the Noah land surface model (LSM), initialized using the High-Resolution Land Data Assimilation System (HRLDAS). Because the observations focus on phenomena less than 60 km in scale, the model is run with 1-km grid spacing, offering a critical look at high-resolution model behavior in an environment uncomplicated by precipitation. The model replicates the type of CBL structure on scales from a few kilometers to;100 km, but some features at the kilometer scales depend on the grid spacing.Mesoscale (tens of kilometers) circulations were clearly evident on 2 of the 4 days (30 May and 20 June), clearly not evident on 1 day (22 June), with the situation for the fourth day (17 June) ambiguous. Both observed and modeled surface-heterogeneitygenerated mesoscale circulations are evident for 30 May. On the other hand, 20 June satellite images show north-northwest-south-southeast cloud streets (rolls) modulated longitudinally, presumably by tropospheric gravity waves oriented normal to the roll axis, creating northeast-southwest ridges and valleys spaced 50-100 km apart. Modeled cloud streets showed similar longitudinal modulation, with the associated two-dimensional structure having maximum amplitude above the CBL and no relationship to the CBL temperature distribution; although there were patches of mesoscale vertical velocity correlated with CBL temperature. On 22 June, convective rolls were the dominant structure in both model and observations. For the 3 days for which satellite images show cloud streets,WRF produces rolls with the right orientation and wavelength, which grows with CBL depth. Modeled roll structures appeared for the range of CBL depth to Obukhov length ratios (-zi/L) associated with rolls. However, sensitivity tests show that the roll wavelength is also related to the grid spacing, and the modeled convection becomes more cellular with smaller grid spacing. © 2010 American Meteorological Society.




© Copyright 2010 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act September 2010 Page 2 or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 USC §108, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a web site or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, requires written permission or a license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy, available on the AMS Web site located at ( or from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or

Included in

Engineering Commons