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Simulation of atmospheric microbursts using a numerical mesoscale model at high spatiotemporal resolution



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Bolgiani, Pedro and Fernández González, Sergio and Valero Rodríguez, Francisco and Merino, Andrés and García Ortega, Eduardo and Sánchez, José Luis and Martín, María Luisa (2020) Simulation of atmospheric microbursts using a numerical mesoscale model at high spatiotemporal resolution. Journal of geophysical research-atmospheres, 125 (4). ISSN 2169-897X

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2019JD031791


Atmospheric microbursts are low‐level meteorological events that can produce significant damage on the surface and pose a major risk to aircraft flying close to the ground. Studies and ad hoc numerical models have been developed to understand the origin and dynamics of the microburst; nevertheless, there are few researches of the phenomenon using global and mesoscale models. This is mainly due to the limitations in resolution, as microbursts normally span for less than 4 km and 20 min. In this paper, the Weather Research and Forecasting model is used at resolutions of 400 m and 3 min to test if it can properly capture the variables and dynamics of high‐reflectivity microbursts. Several microphysics and planetary boundary layer parametrizations are tested to find the best model configuration for the simulation of this kind of episodes. General conditions are evaluated by using thermodynamic diagrams. Surface and vertical wind speed, reflectivity, precipitation, and other variables for each simulated event are compared with observations, and the model's sensitivity to the variables is assessed. The dynamics and evolution of the microburst is evaluated using different plots of a chosen event. The results show that the model is able to reproduce high‐reflectivity microbursts in accordance with observations, although there is a tendency to underestimate the intensity of variables, most markedly on the wind vertical velocity. Regarding the microphysics schemes, the Morrison parametrization performs better than the WRF single‐moment 6‐class scheme. No major differences are found between the Mellor‐Yamada‐Janjic and the Mellor‐Yamada‐Nakanishi‐Niino planetary boundary layer parametrizations.

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© 2020. The Authors. The authors declare no conflict of interest. The founding sponsors have no participation in the execution of the experiment, the decision to publish the results, nor in the writing of the manuscript. This work is supported by the Interdisciplinary Mathematics Institute of the Complutense University of Madrid and the following research projects: METEORISK (RTC‐2014‐ 1872‐5), PCIN‐2014‐013‐C07‐04, PCIN‐ 2016‐080 (UE ERANET Plus NEWA Project), ESP2013‐47816‐C4‐4‐P, CGL2010‐15930, CGL2016‐81828‐ REDT, FEI‐EU‐17‐16, and SAFEFLIGHT (CGL2016‐78702‐C2‐1‐R and CGL2016‐78702‐C2‐2‐R). This research is founded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Enterprise under the framework of the SAFEFLIGHT research project (CGL2016‐78702‐C2‐1‐R and CGL2016‐ 78702‐C2‐2‐R).

Uncontrolled Keywords:Severe thunderstorm; Wet microburst; Downburst; Weather; Convection; Downdrafts; Dynamics; Outflows; Driven; Index
Subjects:Sciences > Physics > Atmospheric physics
ID Code:60219
Deposited On:04 May 2020 10:32
Last Modified:12 May 2020 08:29

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