Evaluation of planetary boundary layer parameterizations in tropical cyclones by comparison of in situ observations and high-resolution simulations of Hurricane Isabel (2003). Part II: Inner-core boundary layer and eyewall structure

David S. Nolan, Daniel P. Stern, Jun A. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

98 Scopus citations

Abstract

This is the second of a two-part study of the representation of the planetary boundary layer (PBL) in highresolution Weather Research and Forecast Model (WRF) simulations of Hurricane Isabel (2003). The Yonsei University (YSU) PBL parameterization and the Mellor-Yamada-Janjic' (MYJ) PBL parameterization are evaluated by direct comparison to in situ data obtained by research aircraft. The numerical model, simulation design, details of the PBL schemes, and the representation of the boundary layer in the outer-core were presented in Part I. This part presents a detailed study of the inner-core PBL, including its axisymmetric and asymmetric structures, and comparisons to analyses of dropsonde data from previous studies. Although neither PBL scheme was designed specifically for hurricane conditions, their simulated boundary layers are reasonably good representations of the observed boundary layer. Both schemes reproduce certain unique features of the hurricane boundary layer, such as the separate depths of the well-mixed layer and the inflow layer, and the pronounced wind speed maxima near the top of the inflow layer. Modification of the original YSU and MYJ schemes to have ocean roughness lengths more in agreement with recent studies considerably improves the results of both schemes. Even with these improvements, the MYJ consistently produces larger frictional tendencies in the boundary layer than the YSU scheme, leading to a stronger lowlevel inflow and a stronger azimuthal wind maximum at the top of the boundary layer. For both schemes, differences in the low-level asymmetries between the simulated and observed wind fields appear to be related to eyewall asymmetries forced by environmental wind shear. The effects of varying horizontal and vertical resolutions are also considered. Increasing the vertical resolution in the PBL results in minor improvements in the inner-core structures. Increasing the horizontal resolution around the eyewall also leads to improved boundary layers, as well as an improvement of the vertical structure of the inner-core wind field. A summary and discussion of the results of both Parts I and II is provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3675-3698
Number of pages24
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Volume137
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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