Impact of lateral groundwater flow and subsurface lower boundary conditions on atmospheric boundary layer development over complex terrain

Mary M. Forrester, Reed M. Maxwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Credible soil moisture redistribution schemes are essential to meteorological models, as lower boundary moisture influences the balance of surface turbulent fluxes and atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) devel-opment. While land surface models (LSMs) have vastly improved in their hydrologic representation, several commonly held assumptions, such as free-draining lower boundary, one-dimensional moisture flux, and lack of groundwater representation, can bias the terrestrial water balance. This study explores the impact of LSM hydrology representation on ABL development in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) meteorological model. The results of summertime WRF simulations with Noah LSM, characterized by 2-m-thick soil and one-dimensional flow, are shown for a domain in the Colorado Rocky Mountain headwaters region. A reference WRF simulation is compared to 1) the same model with soil moisture initialized by the hydrologic model ParFlow; 2) a deep, free-draining simulation; and 3) WRF coupled to ParFlow, a three-dimensional, integrated groundwater-surface water model. Results show that both lateral transport of groundwater and the rate of drainage from the lower soil layer can weaken or reverse the coupling strength between evaporative fraction and ABL over a 5-month summer period. The resulting shifts in low-level moist convection in river valleys and thermally driven airflows yield strengthened anabatic upslope winds and perturbations to regional precipitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1133-1160
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Hydrometeorology
Volume21
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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