The Third GABLS Intercomparison Case for Evaluation Studies of Boundary-Layer Models. Part B: Results and Process Understanding

F.C. Bosveld, P. Baas, G.J. Steeneveld, A.A.M. Holtslag, W.M. Angevine, E. Bazile, E.I.F. de Bruijn, D. Deacu, J.M. Edwards, M. Ek, V.E. Larson, J.E. Pleim, M. Raschendorfer, G. Svensson

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65 Citations (Scopus)


We describe and analyze the results of the third global energy and water cycle experiment atmospheric boundary layer Study intercomparison and evaluation study for single-column models. Each of the nineteen participating models was operated with its own physics package, including land-surface, radiation and turbulent mixing schemes, for a full diurnal cycle selected from the Cabauw observatory archive. By carefully prescribing the temporal evolution of the forcings on the vertical column, the models could be evaluated against observations. We focus on the gross features of the stable boundary layer (SBL), such as the onset of evening momentum decoupling, the 2-m minimum temperature, the evolution of the inertial oscillation and the morning transition. New process diagrams are introduced to interpret the variety of model results and the relative importance of processes in the SBL; the diagrams include the results of a number of sensitivity runs performed with one of the models. The models are characterized in terms of thermal coupling to the soil, longwave radiation and turbulent mixing. It is shown that differences in longwave radiation schemes among the models have only a small effect on the simulations; however, there are significant variations in downward radiation due to different boundary-layer profiles of temperature and humidity. The differences in modelled thermal coupling to the land surface are large and explain most of the variations in 2-m air temperature and longwave incoming radiation among models. Models with strong turbulent mixing overestimate the boundary-layer height, underestimate the wind speed at 200 m, and give a relatively large downward sensible heat flux. The result is that 2-m air temperature is relatively insensitive to turbulent mixing intensity. Evening transition times spread 1.5 h around the observed time of transition, with later transitions for models with coarse resolution. Time of onset in the morning transition spreads 2 h around the observed transition time. With this case, the morning transition appeared to be difficult to study, no relation could be found between the studied processes, and the variation in the time of the morning transition among the models
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-187
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • stably stratified conditions
  • observed evening transition
  • nonlocal closure-model
  • low-level jets
  • land-surface
  • morning transition
  • vertical diffusion
  • radiative-transfer
  • energy-balance
  • ecmwf model

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