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A comparative study of prognostic MM5 meteorological modeling with aircraft, wind profiler, lidar, tethered balloon and RASS data over Philadelphia during a 1999 summer episode

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This study presents a comparative evaluation of the prognostic meteorological Fifth Generation NCAR Pennsylvania State University Mesoscale Model (MM5) using data from the Northeast Oxidant and Particle Study (NE-OPS) research program collected over Philadelphia, PA during a summer episode in 1999. A set of model simulations utilizing a nested grid of 36 km, 12 km and 4 km horizontal resolutions with 21 layers in the vertical direction was performed for a period of 101 h from July 15, 1999, 12 UTC to July 19, 1999, 17 UTC. The model predictions obtained with 4 km horizontal grid resolution were compared with the NE-OPS observations. Comparisons of model temperature with aircraft data revealed that the model exhibited slight underestimation as noted by previous investigators. Comparisons of model temperature with aircraft and tethered balloon data indicate that the mean absolute error varied up to 1.5 °C. The comparisons of model relative humidity with aircraft and tethered balloon indicate that the mean relative error varied from –11% to –22% for the tethered balloon and from –5% to –30% for the aircraft data. The mean relative error for water vapor mixing ratio with respect to the lidar data exhibited a negative bias consistent with the humidity bias corresponding to aircraft and tethered balloon data. The tendency of MM5 to produce estimates of very low wind speeds, especially in the early-mid afternoon hours, as noted by earlier investigators, is seen in this study also. It is indeed true that the initial fields as well as the fields utilized in the data assimilation also contribute to some of the differences between the model and observations. Studies such as these which compare the grid averaged mean state variables with observations have inherent difficulties. Despite the above limitations, the results of the present study broadly conform to the general traits of MM5 as noted by earlier investigators.

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