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Characterizing NWP Model Errors Using Doppler-Lidar Measurements of Recurrent Regional Diurnal Flows: Marine-Air Intrusions into the Columbia River BasinMarine-Air Intrusions into the Columbia River Basin

Abstract

Ground-based Doppler-lidar instrumentation provides atmospheric wind data at dramatically improved accuracies and spatial/temporal resolutions. These capabilities have provided new insights into atmospheric flow phenomena, but they also should have a strong role in NWP model improvement. Insight into the nature of model errors can be gained by studying recurrent atmospheric flows, here a regional summertime diurnal sea breeze and subsequent marine-air intrusion into the arid interior of Oregon-Washington, where these winds are an important wind-energy resource. These marine intrusions were sampled by three scanning Doppler lidars in the Columbia-River Basin as part of the Second Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP2), using data from summer 2016. Lidar time-height cross sections of wind speed identified eight days when the diurnal-flow cycle, (peak wind speeds at midnight, afternoon minima) was obvious and strong. Eight-day composite time-height cross sections of lidar wind speeds are used to validate those generated by the operational NCEP-HRRR model. HRRR simulated the diurnal wind cycle, but produced errors in the timing of onset and significant errors due to a premature nighttime demise of the intrusion flow, producing low-bias errors of 6 m s−1. Day-to-day and in the composite, whenever a marine intrusion occurred, HRRR made these same errors. The errors occurred under a range of gradient wind conditions indicating that they resulted from the misrepresentation of physical processes within a limited region around the measurement locations. Because of their generation within a limited geographical area, field-measurement programs can be designed to find and address the sources of these NWP errors.

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