A Method to Control the Environmental Wind Profile in Idealized Simulations of Deep Convection with Surface Friction
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A Method to Control the Environmental Wind Profile in Idealized Simulations of Deep Convection with Surface Friction

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  • Journal Title:
    Monthly Weather Review
  • Description:
    In idealized, horizontally homogeneous, cloud model simulations of convective storms, the action of surface friction can substantially modify the near-ground environmental wind profile over time owing to the lack of a large-scale pressure gradient force to balance the frictional force together with the Coriolis force. This situation is undesirable for many applications where the impact of an unchanging environmental low-level wind shear on the simulated storm behavior is the focus of investigation, as it introduces additional variability in the experiment and accordingly complicates interpretation of the results. Partly for this reason, many researchers have opted to perform simulations with free-slip lower boundary conditions, which with appropriate boundary conditions allows for more precise control of the large-scale environmental wind profile. Yet, some recent studies have advocated important roles of surface friction in storm dynamics. Here, a simple method is introduced to effectively maintain any chosen environmental wind profile in idealized storm simulations in the presence of surface friction and both resolved and subgrid-scale turbulent mixing. The method is demonstrated through comparisons of simulations of a tornadic supercell with and without surface friction and with or without invoking the new method. The method is compared with similar techniques in the literature and potential extensions and other applications are discussed.
  • Source:
    Mon. Wea. Rev. (2019) 147 (11): 3935–3954.
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