Role of land-surface temperature feedback on model performance for the stable boundary layer

A.A.M. Holtslag, G.J. Steeneveld, B.J.H. Wiel, van de

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30 Citations (Scopus)


At present a variety of boundary-layer schemes is in use in numerical models and often a large variation of model results is found. This is clear from model intercomparisons, such as organized within the GEWEX Atmospheric Boundary Layer Study (GABLS). In this paper we analyze how the specification of the land-surface temperature affects the results of a boundary-layer scheme, in particular for stable conditions. As such we use a well established column model of the boundary layer and we vary relevant parameters in the turbulence scheme for stable conditions. By doing so, we can reproduce the outcome for a variety of boundary-layer models. This is illustrated with the original set-up of the second GABLS intercomparison study using prescribed geostrophic winds and land-surface temperatures as inspired by (but not identical to) observations of CASES-99 for a period of more than two diurnal cycles. The model runs are repeated using a surface temperature that is calculated with a simple land-surface scheme. In the latter case, it is found that the range of model results in stable conditions is reduced for the sensible heat fluxes, and the profiles of potential temperature and wind speed. However, in the latter case the modelled surface temperatures are rather different than with the original set-up, which also impacts on near-surface air temperature and wind speed. As such it appears that the model results in stable conditions are strongly influenced by non-linear feedbacks in which the magnitude of the geostrophic wind speed and the related land-surface temperature play an important role.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-376
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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