, Volume 119, Issue 1-2, pp 1-16
Date: 25 Oct 2012

Limited area NWP and regional climate modeling: a test of the relaxation vs Eta lateral boundary conditions

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Abstract

With very few exceptions, just about all limited area models (LAMs) used in operational NWP and regional climate modeling use the Davies (Q J R Meteorol Soc 102:405–418, 1976) relaxation lateral boundary conditions (LBCs), even though they make no effort to respect the basic mathematics of the problem. While in the early stages of the primitive equation LAM development in the seventies numerous schemes have been proposed and tested, LAM communities have eventually for the most part settled on the relaxation LBCs with few questions asked. An exception is the Eta model used extensively at NCEP and several other centers, in which the Mesinger (Contrib Atmos Phys 50:200–210, 1977) LBCs are used, designed and based on knowledge available before the introduction of the relaxation scheme. They prescribe variables along the outermost row of grid points only; all of them at the inflow points and one less at the outflow points where the tangential velocity components are extrapolated from inside of the model domain. Additional schemes are in place to suppress separation of gravity-wave solutions on C-subgrids of the model’s E-grid. A recent paper of Veljovic et al. (Meteor Zeitschrift 19:237–246, 2010) included three 32-day forecasts done with both the Eta and the relaxation LBCs and the comparison of some of their verification results. Here we extend this experiment by three additional forecasts to arrive at an ensemble of six members run with both schemes, and present a more complete discussion of results. We in addition show results of one of these forecasts in which the linear change of relaxation coefficients was replaced by the change following the recommendation of Lehmann (Meteorol Atmos Phys 52:1–14, 1993). We feel that the results of our two verification schemes strongly suggest the advantage of the Eta over the conventional relaxation scheme, thereby raising doubts as to the justification for its use.

Responsible editor: C. Simmer.