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The Benefits and Challenges of Downscaling a Global Reanalysis with Doubly-Periodic Large-Eddy Simulations
  • Bart van Stratum,
  • Chiel C. van Heerwaarden,
  • Jordi Vilà-Guerau de Arellano
Bart van Stratum
Wageningen University & Research

Corresponding Author:bart.vanstratum@wur.nl

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Chiel C. van Heerwaarden
Wageningen University & Research
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Jordi Vilà-Guerau de Arellano
Wageningen University Research
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Global reanalyses like ERA5 accurately capture atmospheric processes at spatial scales of O(10) km or larger. By downscaling ERA5 with large-eddy simulation (LES), LES can provide details about processes at spatio-temporal scales down to meters and seconds. Here, we present an open-source Python package named the “Large-eddy simulation and Single-column model - Large-Scale Dynamics”, or (LS)2D in short, designed to simplify the downscaling of ERA5 with doubly-periodic LES. A validation with observations, for several sensitivity experiments consisting of month-long LESs over Cabauw (the Netherlands), demonstrates both its usefulness and limitations. The day-to-day variability in the weather is well captured by (LS)2D and LES, but the setup under-performs in conditions with broken or near overcast clouds. As a novel application of this modeling system, we used (LS)2D to study surface solar irradiance variability, as this quantity directly links land-surface processes, turbulent transport, and clouds, to radiation. At a horizontal resolution of 25 m, the setup reproduces satisfactorily the solar irradiance variability down to a timescale of seconds. This demonstrates that the coupled LES-ERA5 setup is a useful tool that can provide details on the physics of turbulence and clouds, but can only improve on its host reanalysis when applied to meteorological suitable conditions.
06 Apr 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
16 Apr 2023Published in ESS Open Archive