Urban and ocean ensembles for improved meteorological and dispersion modelling of the coastal zone

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Holt, Teddy ; Pullen, Julie ; Bishop, Craig H. (2009)

A high-resolution (1.67 km) ensemble transform (ET)-based meso-scale modelling system utilizing urbanization and sea surface temperature (SST) perturbations is used to examine characteristics of sea breeze/heat island interactions and atmospheric transport and dispersion for Tokyo. The ensemble displays a positive spread–skill relationship, with the addition of urban perturbations enabling the ensemble variance to distinguish a larger range of forecast error variances. Two synoptic regimes are simulated. For a pre-frontal period (stronger synoptic flow), there is less variability among ensemble members in the strength of the urban heat island and its interaction with the sea breeze front. During the post-frontal time period, the sea breeze frontal position is very sensitive to the details of the urban representation, with horizontal frontal variation covering the width of the urban centre (∼30 km) and displaying significant impacts on the development and strength of the heat island. Moreover, the dosage values of a tracer released at offshore and urban sites have considerable variability among ensemble members in response to small-scale features such as coastally upwelled water, enhanced anthropogenic heating and variations in building heights. Realistic variations in SST (i.e. warm Tokyo Bay or local upwelling) produce subtle sea breeze variations that dramatically impact tracer distributions.
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