AbstractAccurately predicting moisture and stability in the Antarctic planetary boundary layer (PBL) is essential for low-cloud forecasts, especially when Antarctic forecasters often use relative humidity as a proxy for cloud cover. These forecasters typically rely on the Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System (AMPS) Polar Weather Research and Forecasting (Polar WRF) Model for high-resolution forecasts. To complement the PBL observations from the 30-m Alexander Tall Tower! (ATT) on the Ross Ice Shelf as discussed in a recent paper by Wille and coworkers, a field campaign was conducted at the ATT site from 13 to 26 January 2014 using Small Unmanned Meteorological Observer (SUMO) aerial systems to collect PBL data. The 3-km-resolution AMPS forecast output is combined with the global European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts interim reanalysis (ERAI), SUMO flights, and ATT data to describe atmospheric conditions on the Ross Ice Shelf. The SUMO comparison showed that AMPS had an average 2–3 m s−1 high wind speed bias from the near surface to 600 m, which led to excessive mechanical mixing and reduced stability in the PBL. As discussed in previous Polar WRF studies, the Mellor–Yamada–Janjić PBL scheme is likely responsible for the high wind speed bias. The SUMO comparison also showed a near-surface 10–15-percentage-point dry relative humidity bias in AMPS that increased to a 25–30-percentage-point deficit from 200 to 400 m above the surface. A large dry bias at these critical heights for aircraft operations implies poor AMPS low-cloud forecasts. The ERAI showed that the katabatic flow from the Transantarctic Mountains is unrealistically dry in AMPS.
Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology – American Meteorological Society
Published: Aug 12, 2017
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