Evaluating the Surface Layer Wind Profile in the WRF
James, Robert Stephen
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The purpose of this thesis is to investigate how the surface vertical wind profile responds to different planetary boundary layer schemes in computer models. Local surface roughness is one of the elements represented in these schemes, and is used when interpolating winds down from the lowest model level to the surface, so this needs to be accurately represented in the model. Computer models rely on one bulk estimate of surface roughness for a given grid point, despite the complexity of surrounding terrain. Data for this research was gathered from local surface observations and computer simulations, which looked at two different planetary boundary layer configurations. A total of six cases, three tropical and three non-tropical, are studied in detail to analyze the how the surface layer responds to different atmospheric setups in the model and the observations. Results from this work show that each planetary boundary layer scheme has a different effect on the surface wind profile for each type of case. The Mellor-Yamada-Janjic scheme performs better for tropical cases, and the Yonsei University scheme is more representative for non-tropical cases. However, there are still issues related to surface roughness that are not well handled by the model, regardless of the planetary boundary layer scheme chosen.