Articles | Volume 7, issue 1
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 7, 315–332, 2014

Special issue: Tropospheric profiling (ISTP9)

Atmos. Meas. Tech., 7, 315–332, 2014

Research article 30 Jan 2014

Research article | 30 Jan 2014

The role of urban boundary layer investigated with high-resolution models and ground-based observations in Rome area: a step towards understanding parameterization potentialities

E. Pichelli1, R. Ferretti1, M. Cacciani2, A. M. Siani2, V. Ciardini3, and T. Di Iorio3 E. Pichelli et al.
  • 1University of L'Aquila/CETEMPS, Department of Physics and Chemistry, L'Aquila, Italy
  • 2Sapienza University of Rome, Department of Physics, Rome, Italy
  • 3ENEA, UTMEA-TER, Rome, Italy

Abstract. The urban forcing on thermodynamical conditions can greatly influence the local evolution of the atmospheric boundary layer. Heat stored in an urban environment can produce noteworthy mesoscale perturbations of the lower atmosphere. The new generation of high-resolution numerical weather prediction models (NWP) is nowadays often applied also to urban areas. An accurate representation of cities is key role because of the cities' influence on wind, temperature and water vapor content of the planetary boundary layer (PBL). The Advanced Weather Research and Forecasting model WRF (ARW) has been used to reproduce the circulation in the urban area of Rome. A sensitivity study is performed using different PBL and surface schemes. The significant role of the surface forcing in the PBL evolution has been investigated by comparing model results with observations coming from many instruments (lidar, sodar, sonic anemometer and surface stations). The impact of different urban canopy models (UCMs) on the forecast has also been investigated. One meteorological event will be presented, chosen as statistically relevant for the area of interest. The WRF-ARW model shows a tendency to overestimate the vertical transport of horizontal momentum from upper levels to low atmosphere if strong large-scale forcing occurs. This overestimation is partially corrected by a local PBL scheme coupled with an advanced UCM. Moreover, a general underestimation of vertical motions has been verified.