An Improved WRF for Urban-Scale and Complex-Terrain Applications

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Simulations of atmospheric flow through urban areas must account for a wide range of physical phenomena including both mesoscale and urban processes. Numerical weather prediction models, such as the Weather and Research Forecasting model (WRF), excel at predicting synoptic and mesoscale phenomena. With grid spacings of less than 1 km (as is required for complex heterogeneous urban areas), however, the limits of WRF's terrain capabilities and subfilter scale (SFS) turbulence parameterizations are exposed. Observations of turbulence in urban areas frequently illustrate a local imbalance of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE), which cannot be captured by current turbulence models. Furthermore, WRF's terrain-following ... continued below

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8 p. (0.3 MB)

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Lundquist, J K; Chow, F K; Mirocha, J D & Lundquist, K A September 4, 2007.

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Simulations of atmospheric flow through urban areas must account for a wide range of physical phenomena including both mesoscale and urban processes. Numerical weather prediction models, such as the Weather and Research Forecasting model (WRF), excel at predicting synoptic and mesoscale phenomena. With grid spacings of less than 1 km (as is required for complex heterogeneous urban areas), however, the limits of WRF's terrain capabilities and subfilter scale (SFS) turbulence parameterizations are exposed. Observations of turbulence in urban areas frequently illustrate a local imbalance of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE), which cannot be captured by current turbulence models. Furthermore, WRF's terrain-following coordinate system is inappropriate for high-resolution simulations that include buildings. To address these issues, we are implementing significant modifications to the ARW core of the Weather Research and Forecasting model. First, we are implementing an improved turbulence model, the Dynamic Reconstruction Model (DRM), following Chow et al. (2005). Second, we are modifying WRF's terrain-following coordinate system by implementing an immersed boundary method (IBM) approach to account for the effects of urban geometries and complex terrain. Companion papers detailing the improvements enabled by the DRM and the IBM approaches are also presented (by Mirocha et al., paper 13.1, and K.A. Lundquist et al., paper 11.1, respectively). This overview of the LLNL-UC Berkeley collaboration presents the motivation for this work and some highlights of our progress to date. After implementing both DRM and an IBM for buildings in WRF, we will be able to seamlessly integrate mesoscale synoptic boundary conditions with building-scale urban simulations using grid nesting and lateral boundary forcing. This multi-scale integration will enable high-resolution simulations of flow and dispersion in complex geometries such as urban areas, as well as new simulation capabilities in regions of complex terrain.

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8 p. (0.3 MB)

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PDF-file: 8 pages; size: 0.3 Mbytes

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  • Presented at: American Meteorological Society 7th Symposium on the Urban Environment, San Diego, CA, United States, Sep 10 - Sep 13, 2007

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  • Report No.: UCRL-CONF-234277
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 922119
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc893844

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  • September 4, 2007

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • April 17, 2017, 1:34 p.m.

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Lundquist, J K; Chow, F K; Mirocha, J D & Lundquist, K A. An Improved WRF for Urban-Scale and Complex-Terrain Applications, article, September 4, 2007; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc893844/: accessed September 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.