Extended-Range High-Resolution Dynamical Downscaling over a Continental-Scale Domain

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Syed Zahid Husain, Leo Separovic, Wei Yu and David Fernig, Environment Canada, Dorval, QC, Canada
High-resolution mesoscale simulations, when applied for downscaling meteorological fields over large spatial domains and for extended time periods, can provide valuable information for many practical application scenarios including the weather-dependent renewable energy industry. In the present study, a strategy has been proposed to dynamically downscale coarse-resolution meteorological fields from Environment Canada's regional analyses for a period of multiple years over the entire Canadian territory. The study demonstrates that a continuous mesoscale simulation over the entire domain is the most suitable approach in this regard.
Large-scale deviations in the different meteorological fields pose the biggest challenge for extended-range simulations over continental scale domains, and the enforcement of the lateral boundary conditions is not sufficient to restrict such deviations. A scheme has therefore been developed to spectrally nudge the simulated high-resolution meteorological fields at the different model vertical levels towards those embedded in the coarse-resolution driving fields derived from the regional analyses. A series of experiments were carried out to determine the optimal nudging strategy including the appropriate nudging length scales, nudging vertical profile and temporal relaxation. A forcing strategy based on grid nudging of the different surface fields, including surface temperature, soil-moisture, and snow conditions, towards their expected values obtained from a high-resolution offline surface scheme was also devised to limit any considerable deviation in the evolving surface fields due to extended-range temporal integrations.
The study shows that ensuring large-scale atmospheric similarities helps to deliver near-surface statistical scores for temperature, dew point temperature and horizontal wind speed that are better or comparable to the operational regional forecasts issued by Environment Canada. Furthermore, the meteorological fields resulting from the proposed downscaling strategy have significantly improved spatiotemporal variance compared to those from the operational forecasts, and any time series generated from the downscaled fields do not suffer from discontinuities due to switching between the consecutive forecasts.