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A Review and Evaluation of Planetary Boundary Layer Parameterizations in Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting Model Using Idealized Simulations and Observations


This paper reviews the evolution of planetary boundary layer (PBL) parameterization schemes that have been used in the operational version of the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) model since 2011. Idealized simulations are then used to evaluate the effects of different PBL schemes on hurricane structure and intensity. The original Global Forecast System (GFS) PBL scheme in the 2011 version of HWRF produces the weakest storm, while a modified GFS scheme using a wind-speed dependent parameterization of vertical eddy diffusivity (Km) produces the strongest storm. The subsequent version of the hybrid eddy diffusivity and mass flux scheme (EDMF) used in HWRF also produces a strong storm, similar to the version using the wind-speed dependent Km. Both the intensity change rate and maximum intensity of the simulated storms vary with different PBL schemes, mainly due to differences in the parameterization of Km. The smaller the Km in the PBL scheme, the faster a storm tends to intensify. Differences in hurricane PBL height, convergence, inflow angle, warm-core structure, distribution of deep convection, and agradient force in these simulations are also examined. Compared to dropsonde and Doppler radar composites, improvements in the kinematic structure are found in simulations using the wind-speed dependent Km and modified EDMF schemes relative to those with earlier versions of the PBL schemes in HWRF. However, the upper boundary layer in all simulations is much cooler and drier than that in dropsonde observations. This model deficiency needs to be considered and corrected in future model physics upgrades.

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