GREYBLS: modelling GREY-zone Boundary LayerS

Lead Research Organisation: University of Reading
Department Name: Meteorology

Abstract

Society benefits significantly from the numerical weather forecasts provided by the Met Office. Recently, PA consulting valued the Met Office's public weather service in excess of £600 million pa. The high-resolution (small grid box) numerical weather forecasts of the Met Office provide information on, for example: surface temperature, low-level cloud and fog, and the onset of thunderstorms. This benefits the public and a wide range of industries including: agriculture, aviation, construction, wind energy, retail and transport. This project aims to deliver improvements to the high-resolution numerical weather prediction (NWP) models used to make these forecasts.

The atmospheric boundary layer is the region adjacent to the surface in which there are significant turbulent fluxes of heat, moisture and momentum. The boundary layer has a significant diurnal cycle over land forced by solar heating. It is also strongly coupled to other important processes in the atmosphere such as large-scale weather systems and convective storms. The boundary layer diurnal cycle thus plays a key role in many high-impact aspects of weather such as: surface temperature, the dispersion of pollutants and chemical species, low level cloud and fog, and the onset of thunderstorms. The diurnal cycle of the boundary layer is also important in regional climate and climate change, for example, extreme temperatures over land with increased greenhouse gas emissions. Nevertheless, there are important limitations in our understanding and ability to forecast the diurnal cycle of the boundary layer at high resolution.

The aim of this project is to develop new techniques for modelling the boundary layer at high resolution in a regime called the "grey zone". The grey zone describes the situation where the grid box of a NWP model is of comparable size to the boundary layer depth. With increasing supercomputer power, the grid boxes of NWP models are now below 5 km, so the grey zone is becoming a pressing issue. However, there is currently little understanding about how to model it. New modelling techniques will likely be required such as applying stochastic forcing. This project aims to improve our understanding by performing a systematic comparison of the possible methods for modelling the grey zone. From this understanding, we will then design a new parametrization (representation) of the boundary layer for the grey zone for use in the Met Office NWP model. Improved modelling of the grey zone will then lead to improved high resolution forecasts at the Met Office.

Planned Impact

Beneficiaries from this research

* The general public
Society benefits significantly from the numerical weather forecasts provided by the Met Office. Recently, PA consulting valued the Met Office's public weather service in excess of £600 million pa.

* The Met Office and other weather services
The high-resolution numerical weather forecasts of the Met Office and other weather services provide information on, for example: surface temperature, low-level cloud and fog, and the onset of thunderstorms. This project aims to deliver improvements to these high-resolution numerical weather prediction models.

* Industry
The forecasts of the Met Office benefits the public and a wide range of industries including: agriculture, aviation, construction, wind energy, retail and transport.

* Regional climate research
Climate change, forced by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, will have major impacts on society. In order to inform policies on adaptation and mitigation in the face of climate change, the Met Office Hadley centre uses both global and regional climate simulations. Such regional climate models are similar in design to high-resolution numerical weather models. Thus, improving high-resolution numerical weather prediction models will also benefit regional climate models.

How they will benefit from this research

* The general public: through improved numerical weather forecasts provided by the Met Office. The particular weather types impacted by the expected improvements from this project include frosts and wind gusts.

* The Met Office: through an improved parametrization of the boundary layer in the high-resolution Met Office Unified model. The new parametrization will provide the best numerical representation of the atmosphere near the surface for a given grid-box size; it will therefore also make the best use of costly supercomputing resources, saving the Met Office money.

* Other weather services: through the improved understanding of high-resolution numerical weather prediction of the boundary layer.

* Industry: through improved forecasts that depend on the boundary layer. For example, agriculture relies heavily on the surface temperature, wind-energy industry depends on the near-surface wind speed and the transport industry also relies on surface temperature forecasting when making decisions to grit the roads.

* Regional climate research: through an improved parametrization of the boundary layer in regional climate simulations. This will improve the representation of, for example, the diurnal cycle of surface temperature in a warmer climate.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description 22nd AMS Symposium on Boundary Layers and Turbulence, 20-24 June 2016, Salt Lake City, USA. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk presented entitled A Comparison of LES Sub-grid Turbulence Models at Different Grid Resolutions in a Convective BL
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Posters at: The Future of Cumulus Parametrization, 10-14 July 2017, TU Delft, Netherlands. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A poster presentation on Dynamic sub-grid modelling of shallow cumulus convection drew on work for the GREYBLs and RevCon projects. Additionally a poster presentation on Satellite observations of Bermuda's island-induced clouds drew on work for the RevCon project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description 21st AMS Symposium on Boundary Layers and Turbulence, 9-13 June 2014, Leeds. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk presented entitled Evaluation of a tensor eddy-diffusivity model for the terra incognita
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description 31st annual meeting of the Working Group on Numerical Experimentation (WGNE), 26-29 April, CSIR, South Africa. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk presented entitled Simulations of a convective boundary layer with a dynamic Smagorinsky scheme
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description 32nd Annual Conference of the South African Society for Atmospheric Sciences, 31 October - 1 November, University of Cape Town, South Africa. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk presented entitled Simulating the convective boundary layer with a dynamic Smagorinsky model
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description CHPC National Meeting, Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga, South Africa, 1-5 December. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation of poster entitled Resolution dependence of the temperature flux in the convective boundary layer
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description NCAS Early Career Research Forum 2015, 6 May, Reading. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Presented talk entitled Resolution dependence of the temperature flux in the convective boundary layer
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description NCAS Science Conference 2014, 17-18 July, Bristol. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk presented entitled: Performance of a tensor eddy-diffusivity model for a neutral and convective boundary layer at grey-zone resolutions
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description NCAS Science Conference 2015, 16-17 July, York. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation of talk entitled Resolution dependence of the temperature flux in the convective boundary layer
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Participation at ECMWF Workshop on Sheddling Light on the Grey Zone 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Participation included a presentation based on this project work and participation in a working group providing recommendations for future research directions at ECMWF
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.ecmwf.int/en/learning/workshops/shedding-light-greyzone
 
Description Poster at: EGU General Assembly, 7-12 April 2019, Vienna, Austria. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A poster was presented describing our work on A dynamic extension of the pragmatic blending scheme for sub-grid mixing across the scales
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description RMetS NCAS Conference, 6-8 July 2016, Manchester. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Poster presentation entitled A Comparison of LES Sub-grid Turbulence Models at Different Grid Resolutions in a Convective BL. Also a mini-workshop session was co-organized by O Coceal at this conference focussing on boundary layer modelling at high resolutions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Summer school lecturer (Nanging, China) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Invited as one of two lecturers for a summer school on the methods of modern numerical weather prediction.

The audience comprised of mainly undergraduate students, but also some postgraduates and various operational forecasters from across China. Amongst the students, the school exposed them to science that they would not have covered in their ordinary degree courses and stimulated their interest in NWP. Amongst the forecasters, the school developed their knowledge of how model forecast products are derived, weaning them away from "black box" syndrome.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014