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Title: Sensitivity of large eddy simulations of tropical cyclone to sub-grid scale mixing parameterization.
The surface wind structure and vertical turbulent transport processes in the eyewall of hurricane Isabel (2003) are investigated using six large-eddy simulations (LESs) with different horizontal grid spacing and three-dimensional (3D) sub-grid scale (SGS) turbulent mixing models and a convection permitting simulation that uses a coarser grid spacing and one-dimensional vertical turbulent mixing scheme. The mean radius-height distribution of storm tangential wind and radial flow, vertical velocity structure, and turbulent kinetic energy and momentum fluxes in the boundary layer generated by LESs are consistent with those derived from historical dropsonde composites, Doppler radar, and aircraft measurements. Unlike the convection permitting simulation that produces storm wind fields lacking small-scale disturbances, all LESs are able to produce sub-kilometer and kilometer scale eddy circulations in the eyewall. The inter-LES differences generally reduce with the decrease of model grid spacing. At 100-m horizontal grid spacing, the vertical momentum fluxes induced by the model-resolved eddies and the associated eddy exchange coefficients in the eyewall simulated by the LESs with different 3D SGS mixing schemes are fairly consistent. Although with uncertainties, the decomposition in terms of eddy scales suggests that sub-kilometer eddies are mainly responsible for the vertical turbulent transport within the boundary layer (~1 km depth following the conventional definition) whereas eddies greater than 1 km become the dominant contributors to the vertical momentum transport above the boundary layer in the eyewall. The strong dependence of vertical turbulent transport on eddy scales suggests that the vertical turbulent mixing parameterization in mesoscale simulations of tropical cyclones is ultimately a scale-sensitive problem.  more » « less
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Atmospheric research
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National Science Foundation
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