Articles | Volume 11, issue 1
05 Jan 2011
 | 05 Jan 2011

Downslope windstorm in Iceland – WRF/MM5 model comparison

Ó. Rögnvaldsson, J.-W. Bao, H. Ágústsson, and H. Ólafsson

Abstract. A severe windstorm downstream of Mt. Öræfajökull in Southeast Iceland is simulated on a grid of 1 km horizontal resolution by using the PSU/NCAR MM5 model and the Advanced Research WRF model. Both models are run with a new, two equation planetary boundary layer (PBL) scheme as well as the ETA/MYJ PBL schemes. The storm is also simulated using six different micro-physics schemes in combination with the MYJ PBL scheme in WRF, as well as one "dry" run. Output from a 3 km MM5 domain simulation is used to initialise and drive both the 1 km MM5 and WRF simulations. Both models capture gravity-wave breaking over Mt. Öræfajökull, while the vertical structure of the lee wave differs between the two models and the PBL schemes. The WRF simulated downslope winds, using both the MYJ and 2EQ PBL schemes, are in good agreement with the strength of the observed downslope windstorm. The MM5 simulated surface winds, with the new two equation model, are in better agreement to observations than when using the ETA scheme. Micro-physics processes are shown to play an important role in the formation of downslope windstorms and a correctly simulated moisture distribution is decisive for a successful windstorm prediction. Of the micro-physics schemes tested, only the Thompson scheme captures the downslope windstorm.

Final-revised paper