The Impact of Radiation on the GABLS3 Large-Eddy Simulation through the Night and during the Morning Transition

J.M. Edwards, S. Basu, F.C. Bosveld, A.A.M. Holtslag

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Large-eddy simulation in the GABLS3 intercomparison is concerned with the developed stable boundary layer (SBL) and the ensuing morning transition. The impact of radiative transfer on simulations of this case is assessed. By the time of the reversal of the surface buoyancy flux, a modest reduction of the lapse rate in the developed SBL is apparent in simulations that include longwave radiation. Subsequently, with radiation, the developing mixed layer grows significantly more quickly, so that four hours after the transition the mixed layer is roughly 40 % deeper; the resulting profiles of potential temperature and specific humidity are in better agreement with observations. The inclusion of radiation does not substantively alter the shape of turbulent spectra, but it does indirectly reduce the variance of temperature fluctuations in the mixed layer. The deepening of the mixed layer is interpreted as a response to the reduction of the strength of the capping inversion, resulting from cumulative radiative cooling in the residual layer and around the top of the former SBL. Sensitivity studies are performed to separate the two effects. Solar radiative heating of the atmosphere has a smaller impact on the development of the mixed layer than does longwave radiative cooling and slightly reduces its rate of growth, compared to simulations including longwave radiation alone. These simulations demonstrate that nocturnal radiative processes have an important effect on the morning transition and that they should be considered in future large-eddy simulations of the transition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-211
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • nocturnal boundary-layer
  • model
  • entrainment
  • dynamics
  • weather
  • shear
  • flux

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