Structure of the planetary boundary layer over Southeast England: Modeling and measurements



[1] The Weather Research and Forecasting model was applied to analyze variations in the planetary boundary layer (PBL) structure over Southeast England including central and suburban London. The parameterizations and predictive skills of two nonlocal mixing PBL schemes, YSU and ACM2, and two local mixing PBL schemes, MYJ and MYNN2, were evaluated over a variety of stability conditions, with model predictions at a 3 km grid spacing. The PBL height predictions, which are critical for scaling turbulence and diffusion in meteorological and air quality models, show significant intra-scheme variance (> 20%), and the reasons are presented. ACM2 diagnoses the PBL height thermodynamically using the bulk Richardson number method, which leads to a good agreement with the lidar data for both unstable and stable conditions. The modeled vertical profiles in the PBL, such as wind speed, turbulent kinetic energy (TKE), and heat flux, exhibit large spreads across the PBL schemes. The TKE predicted by MYJ were found to be too small and show much less diurnal variation as compared with observations over London. MYNN2 produces better TKE predictions at low levels than MYJ, but its turbulent length scale increases with height in the upper part of the strongly convective PBL, where it should decrease. The local PBL schemes considerably underestimate the entrainment heat fluxes for convective cases. The nonlocal PBL schemes exhibit stronger mixing in the mean wind fields under convective conditions than the local PBL schemes and agree better with large-eddy simulation (LES) studies.