Towards the closure of momentum budget analyses in the WRF (v3.8.1) model

Chen, Ting-Chen; Yau, Man-Kong; Kirshbaum, Daniel J.

Budget analysis of a tendency equation is widely utilized in numerical studies to quantify different physical processes in a simulated system. While such analysis is often post-processed when the output is made available, it is well acknowledged that the closure of a budget is difficult to achieve without temporal and/or spatial averaging. Nevertheless, the development of errors in such calculations has not been systematically investigated. In this study, an inline budget retrieval method is first developed in the WRF v3.8.1 model and tested on a 2D idealized slantwise convection case with a focus on the momentum equations. This method extracts all the budget terms following the model solver, which gives a high accuracy, with a residual term always less than 0.1 % of the tendency term. Then, taking the inline values as truth, several offline budget analyses with different commonly used simplifications are performed to investigate how they may affect the accuracy of the estimation of individual terms and the resultant residual. These assumptions include using a lower-order advection operator than the one used in the model, neglecting grid staggering, or following a mathematically equivalent but transformed format of the governing equations. Errors in these post-processed analyses are found mostly over the area where the dynamics are the most active, thus impairing the subsequent physical interpretation. A maximum 99th percentile residual can reach inline-formula>50 % of the concurrent tendency term, indicating the danger of neglecting the residual term as done in many budget studies. This work provides general guidance not only for budget diagnoses with the WRF model but also for minimizing the errors in post-processed budget calculations.

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Chen, Ting-Chen / Yau, Man-Kong / Kirshbaum, Daniel J.: Towards the closure of momentum budget analyses in the WRF (v3.8.1) model. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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