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  1. Abstract

    In very stable boundary layers (VSBL), a “cocktail” of submeso motions routinely result in elevated mean wind speed maxima above the ground, acting as a new source of turbulence generation. This new source of turbulent kinetic energy enhances turbulent mixing and causes mean wind profile distortion (WPD). As a results, this transient distortion in the wind profile adjusts the classical log‐law. Addressing how WPD‐induced turbulence regulates flow structures, turbulent fluxes, and transitions in stability regimes across layers remains a challenge. Eddy covariance data measured at four levels on a 62‐m tower are employed to address these questions. It is shown that the WPD initiates large turbulent eddies that penetrate downward, leading to enhanced vertical mixing and comparable turbulent transport efficiencies across layers. As a consequence, turbulence intensity and fluxes are increased. As the WPD is intensified, turbulent fluxes and turbulent flux transport caused by large eddies are also enhanced, leading to a transition from very stable to weakly stable regimes. Due to the influence of WPD‐induced large eddies, the large‐eddy turbulent Prandtl number does not deviate appreciably from unity and the partitioning between turbulent kinetic and potential energies is linearly related to the gradient Richardson number.

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  2. Abstract

    We revisit the longstanding problem of grid sensitivity, i.e., the lack of grid convergence in large-eddy simulations (LES) of the stable boundary layer. We use a comprehensive set of LES of the well-known Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment Atmospheric Boundary Layer Study 1 (GABLS1) case with varying grid spacings between 12.5 m and 1 m to investigate several physical processes and numerical features that are possible causes of grid sensitivity. Our results demonstrate that there are two resolution regimes in which grid sensitivity manifests differently. We find that changing the numerical advection schemes and the subgrid-scale models alters the simulation results, but the options tested do not fully address the grid-sensitivity issue. Moreover, sensitivity runs suggest that the surface boundary condition and the interaction of the surface with the near-surface flow, as well as the mixing with the free atmosphere, are unlikely to be the causes of the observed grid sensitivity. One interesting finding is that the grid sensitivity in the fine grid-spacing regime (grid spacings$$\le 2\,\mathrm{m}$$2m) is closely related to the reduction in the energy content of large-scale turbulence, leading to less turbulence kinetic energy and hence lower boundary-layer heights. The present work demonstrates that there is still an urgent need to address this grid-sensitivity issue in order to perform reliable LES of the stable boundary layer.

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  3. Abstract

    Land surface temperature (LST) responds to land‐use/land‐cover change (LULCC), which modifies surface properties that control the surface energy balance (SEB). Quantifying changes in LST due to individual perturbations caused by LULCC is an attribution problem. Most attribution methods are based on the first‐order Taylor series expansion (FOTSE) of a linearized SEB equation. The accuracy of these methods is affected by the use of FOTSE at two places. The first is to linearize the SEB equation and to obtain an analytical solution for LST (the LST model), and the second is to obtain LST changes as the linear sum of concurrent changes in multiple factors (the attribution model). In this study, we systematically assess the importance of non‐linear effects lost in these linearization processes using the second‐order Taylor series expansion (SOTSE). Results show that while the SOTSE LST model outperforms the FOTSE LST model, the order of Taylor series expansion in the LST model does not significantly influence the attribution of LST changes. However, the SOTSE attribution model is considerably more accurate than the FOTSE attribution model, especially when the magnitude of perturbations is large. Results suggest that contributions from higher‐order and cross‐order terms in the attribution model can be as large as 50%. Sensitivity analysis further shows that non‐linear effects associated with changing surface resistance for LULCC scenarios with large perturbations (e.g., deforestation and urbanization) are particularly strong. In conclusion, we recommend using the FOTSE LST model and the SOTSE attribution model.

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  4. Abstract

    While the signs of the sensitivities of surface temperature (Ts) to land use and land cover change‐induced biophysical changes are relatively well understood, their exact magnitude and how their magnitude depends on the scale characterizing the size of the change remain elusive. In this study, we compare the sensitivities of surface temperature to changes in surface albedo and surface water availability from three analytical/semianalytical models, which are designed for small (<1 km), intermediate (from ∼1 to ∼10 km), and large (>10–20 km) scales. Results suggest that the sensitivities of surface temperature to biophysical changes are scale dependent due to atmospheric feedbacks. Our results demonstrate that it is important to consider the scale and the associated atmospheric feedbacks when quantifying the sensitivities of surface temperature to biophysical changes.

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