Science Inventory

Evaluation of Planetary Boundary Layer Scheme Sensitivities for the Purpose of Parameter Estimation


Nielsen-Gammon, J. W., X. Hu, F. Zhang, AND J. E. PLEIM. Evaluation of Planetary Boundary Layer Scheme Sensitivities for the Purpose of Parameter Estimation. Monthly Weather Review. American Meteorological Society, Boston, MA, 138(9):3400-3417, (2010).


The National Exposure Research Laboratory′s (NERL′s) Atmospheric Modeling and Analysis Division (AMAD) conducts research in support of EPA′s mission to protect human health and the environment. AMAD′s research program is engaged in developing and evaluating predictive atmospheric models on all spatial and temporal scales for forecasting the Nation′s air quality and for assessing changes in air quality and air pollutant exposures, as affected by changes in ecosystem management and regulatory decisions. AMAD is responsible for providing a sound scientific and technical basis for regulatory policies based on air quality models to improve ambient air quality. The models developed by AMAD are being used by EPA, NOAA, and the air pollution community in understanding and forecasting not only the magnitude of the air pollution problem, but also in developing emission control policies and regulations for air quality improvements.


Meteorological model errors caused by imperfect parameterizations generally cannot be overcome simply by optimizing initial and boundary conditions. However, advanced data assimilation methods are capable of extracting significant information about parameterization behavior from the observations, and thus can be used to estimate model parameters while they adjust the model state. Such parameters should be identifiable, meaning that they must have a detectible impact on observable aspects of the model behavior, their individual impacts should be a monotonic function of the parameter values, and the various impacts should be clearly distinguishable from each other. A sensitivity analysis is conducted for the parameters within the Asymmetrical Convective Model, version 2 (ACM2) planetary boundary layer (PBL) scheme in the Weather Research and Forecasting model in order to determine the parameters most suited for estimation. A total of 10 candidate parameters are selected from what is, in general, an infinite number of parameters, most being implicit or hidden. Multiple sets of model simulations are performed to test the sensitivity of the simulations to these 10 particular ACM2 parameters within their plausible physical bounds. The most identifiable parameters are found to govern the vertical profile of local mixing within the unstable PBL, the minimum allowable diffusivity, the definition of the height of the unstable PBL, and the Richardson number criterion used to determine the onset of turbulent mixing in stable stratification. Differences in observability imply that the specific choice of parameters to be estimated should depend upon the characteristics of the observations being assimilated.


Evaluation of Planetary Boundary Layer Scheme Sensitivities for the Purpose of Parameter Estimation   (PDF,NA pp, 5515 KB,  about PDF)

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Record Details:

Product Published Date: 09/30/2010
Record Last Revised: 02/14/2012
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 217883