Original Paper

Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 128, Issue 3, pp 459-472

First online:

A One-Dimensional Finite-Element Boundary-Layer Model with a Vertical Adaptive Grid

  • T. M. DunbarAffiliated withDepartment of Meteorology, University of Reading Email author 
  • , E. HanertAffiliated withDepartment of Meteorology, University of Reading
  • , R. J. HoganAffiliated withDepartment of Meteorology, University of Reading

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A one-dimensional atmospheric boundary-layer model is developed using the finite element method and a 1.5-order e-l turbulence closure scheme. A vertical adaptive strategy is implemented, based upon an heuristic error estimator that depends upon properties of the layer, such as the stratification. The model is used to simulate a moderately stratified stable boundary layer as described in the GABLS (GEWEX Atmospheric Boundary-Layer Study, where GEWEX is the Global Water and Energy Cycle Experiment) First Intercomparison Project, and then a more complicated diurnal cycle, as used in the GABLS Second Intercomparison Project. In the stable boundary-layer experiment, it is shown that including the adaptive strategy can improve the performance of the model such that the error in the model is significantly less (greater than an order of magnitude with an effective resolution of 8 m) than that of the model without adaptivity. The model’s turbulence closure scheme and the adaptivity strategy also successfully simulate the different stability regimes present in the diurnal cycle simulation, and represented all of the expected features.


Diurnal cycle e-l turbulence closure Finite element method Stable atmospheric boundary layer Vertical adaptivity