Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 137, Issue 1, pp 49–75 | Cite as

Large-Eddy Simulation of the Daytime Boundary Layer in an Idealized Valley Using the Weather Research and Forecasting Numerical Model

  • Franco Catalano
  • Chin-Hoh Moeng
Open Access


A three-dimensional numerical meteorological model is used to perform large-eddy simulations of the upslope flow circulation over a periodic ridge-valley terrain. The subgrid-scale quantities are modelled using a prognostic turbulence kinetic energy (TKE) scheme, with a grid that has a constant horizontal resolution of 50 m and is stretched along the vertical direction. To account for the grid anisotropy, a modified subgrid length scale is used. To allow for the response of the surface fluxes to the valley-flow circulation, the soil surface temperature is imposed and the surface heat and momentum fluxes are computed based on Monin–Obukhov similarity theory. The model is designed with a symmetrical geometry using periodic boundary conditions in both the x and y directions. Two cases are simulated to study the influence of along-valley geostrophic wind forcing with different intensities. The presence of the orography introduces numerous complexities both in the mean properties of the flow and in the turbulent features, even for the idealized symmetric geometry. Classical definitions for the height of the planetary boundary layer (PBL) are revisited and redefined to capture the complex structure of the boundary layer. Analysis of first- and second-moment statistics, along with TKE budget, highlights the different structure of the PBL at different regions of the domain.


Boundary-layer height Geostrophic wind forcing Horizontal breeze Subsidence Surface flux heterogeneity Turbulent kinetic energy budget 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Hydraulics, Transportation and RoadsSapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology DivisionNational Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)BoulderUSA

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