A closer look at boundary layer inversion in large-eddy simulations and bulk models

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 8:45 AM
Pierre Gentine, Columbia University, New York, NY, United States, Gilles Bellon, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand and Chiel Van Heerwaarden, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
The inversion layer (IL) profile of a clear-sky, buoyancy-driven convective boundary layer is investigated using large-eddy simulations covering a large range of convective Richardson numbers. A new model of the IL is suggested and tested. The model performs better than previous first-order models of the entrainment and provides physical insights into the main controls of the mixed-layer and IL growths. A consistent prognostic equation of the IL growth is derived, with explicit dependence on the position of the minimum buoyancy flux, convective Richardson number and relative stratification across the inversion G. The IL model expresses the interrelationship between the position and magnitude of the minimum buoyancy flux and inversion layer depth. These relationships emphasize why zero-order–jump models of the convective boundary layer perform well under a strong inversion and show that these models miss the additional parameter, G, to fully characterize the entrainment process under a weak inversion. Additionally, the position of the minimum buoyancy flux within the new IL model is shown to be a key component of convective boundary layer entrainment. The new IL model is sufficiently simple to be used in numerical weather prediction or general circulation models as a way to resolve the IL in a low vertical resolution model.