Idealized Mesoscale Model Simulations of Open Cellular Convection Over the Sea

Claire Louise Vincent, Andrea N. Hahmann, Mark C. Kelly

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    The atmospheric conditions during an observed case of open cellular convection over the North Sea were simulated using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) numerical model. Wind, temperature and water vapour mixing ratio profiles from the WRF simulation were used to initialize an idealized version of the model, which excluded the effects of topography, surface inhomogeneities and large-scale weather forcing. Cells with an average diameter of 17.4 km developed. Simulations both with and without a capping inversion were made, and the cell-scale kinetic energy budget was calculated for each case. By considering all sources of explicit diffusion in the model, the budgets were balanced. In comparison with previous work based on observational studies, the use of three-dimensional, gridded model data afforded the possibility of calculating all terms in the budgets, which showed that the important terms in the budgets were buoyancy, pressure balance and inter-scale transfer to subgrid scales. Cells were also composited to calculate the average cell-scale flow and each of the budget terms on two-dimensional cross-sections through the cells, parallel and perpendicular to the mean wind direction.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)103-121
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Wind power meteorology


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