On the consideration of mesoscale transports in climate modelling

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Courtesy of Springer

The dynamical effect of land surface heterogeneity on heat fluxes in the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) is investigated using numerical simulations with a nonhydrostatic model over a wide range of grid resolutions. It is commonly assumed that mesoscale or dynamical fluxes associated with mesoscale and convective circulations simulated by a high-resolution model (subgrid (SG) model) on the subgrid scale of a climate model (large-scale (LS) model) represent additional processes in the ABL, which are not considered by the turbulence scheme of the LSmodel, and which can be parameterized using the SGmodel. The present study investigates the usefulness of this methodology for small-scale and large-scale idealized heterogeneities using a SG-model resolving mesoscale or even microscale circulations to compute the mesoscale fluxes on the scale of the LS-model. It is shown that the dynamical transports as derived from the SG-model should not be used to correct the parameterized turbulent fluxes of the LS-model. The  reason is that the subgrid circulations simulated by the SG-model interact with the fields of wind and scalars in the ABL, which results in reduced turbulent fluxes in the ABL. Thus the methodology of previous studies to use mesoscale=dynamical fluxes for the correction of flux profiles simulated by climate models seems to be questionable.

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