Accuracy of simulated diurnal valley winds in the Swiss Alps: influence of grid resolution, topography filtering, and land surface datasets

  • We evaluate the near-surface representation of thermally driven winds in the Swiss Alps in a numerical weather prediction model at km-scale resolution. In addition, the influence of grid resolution (2.2 km and 1.1 km), topography filtering, and land surface datasets on the accuracy of the simulated valley winds is investigated. The simulations are evaluated against a comprehensive set of surface observations for an 18-day fair-weather summer period in July 2006. The episode is characterized by strong diurnal wind systems and the formation of shallow convection over the mountains, which transitions to precipitating convection in some areas. The near-surface winds (10 m above ground level) follow a typical diurnal pattern with strong daytime up-valley flow and weaker nighttime down-valley flow. At a 2.2 km resolution the valley winds are poorly simulated for most stations, while at a 1.1 km resolution the diurnal cycle of the valley winds is well represented in most large (e.g., Rhein valley at Chur and Rhone valley at Visp) and medium-sized valleys (e.g., Linth valley at Glarus). In the smaller valleys (e.g., Maggia valley at Cevio), the amplitude of the valley wind is still significantly underestimated, even at a 1.1 km resolution. Detailed sensitivity experiments show that the use of high-resolution land surface datasets, for both the soil characteristics as well as for the land cover, and reduced filtering of the topography are essential to achieve good performance at a 1.1 km resolution

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Author:Jürg SchmidliORCiDGND, Steven Böing, Oliver Fuhrer
Parent Title (English):Atmosphere
Place of publication:Basel
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2018
Date of first Publication:2018/05/18
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2019/10/23
Tag:diurnal cycle; high-resolution simulation; land surface datasets; topography filtering; valley winds
Issue:(5), 196
Institutes:Geowissenschaften / Geographie / Geowissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 550 Geowissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0