J3.1 Turbulence Dissipation Rates in the Planetary Boundary Layer from Wind Profiling Radars and Mesoscale Numerical Weather Prediction Models during WFIP2

Wednesday, 25 January 2017: 10:30 AM
606 (Washington State Convention Center )
Katherine McCaffrey, CIRES, Boulder, CO; and L. Bianco, J. M. Wilczak, J. B. Olson, and J. Kenyon

When forecasting winds at a wind plant for energy production, the turbulence parameterizations in the forecast models are crucial for understanding wind plant performance. Recent research shows that the turbulence (eddy) dissipation rate in planetary boundary layer (PBL) parameterization schemes introduces significant uncertainty in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. Thus, developing the capability to measure dissipation rates in the PBL will allow for identification of weaknesses in, and improvements to the parameterizations.

During a preliminary field study at the Boulder Atmospheric Observatory in spring 2015, a 915-MHz wind profiling radar (WPR) measured dissipation rates concurrently with sonic anemometers mounted on a 300-meter tower. WPR set-up parameters (e.g., spectral resolution), post-processing techniques (e.g., filtering for non-atmospheric signals), and spectral averaging were optimized to capture the most accurate Doppler spectra for measuring spectral widths for use in the computation of the eddy dissipation rates. These encouraging results lead to the implementation of the observing strategy on a 915-MHz WPR in Wasco, OR, operating as part of the Wind Forecasting Improvement Project 2 (WFIP2). These observations are compared to dissipation rates calculated from the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh model, a WRF-based mesoscale numerical weather prediction model run for WFIP2 at 3000 m horizontal grid spacing and with a nest, which has 750-meter horizontal grid spacing, in the complex terrain region of the Columbia River Gorge. The observed profiles of dissipation rates are used to evaluate the PBL parameterization schemes used in the HRRR model, which are based on the modeled turbulent kinetic energy and a tunable length scale.

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