A history of mesoscale model development
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- Dudhia, J. Asia-Pacific J Atmos Sci (2014) 50: 121. doi:10.1007/s13143-014-0031-8
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The development of atmospheric mesoscale models from their early origins in the 1970’s until the present day is described. Evolution has occurred in dynamical and physics representations in these models. The dynamics has had to change from hydrostatic to fully nonhydrostatic equations to handle the finer scales that have become possible in the last few decades with advancing computer power, which has enabled real-time forecasting to go to finer grid sizes. Meanwhile the physics has also become more sophisticated than the initial representations of the major processes associated with the surface, boundary layer, radiation, clouds and convection. As resolutions have become finer, mesoscale models have had to change paradigms associated with assumptions related to what is considered sub-grid scale needing parameterization, and what is resolved well enough to be explicitly handled by the dynamics. This first occurred with cumulus parameterization as real-time forecast models became able to represent individual updrafts, and is now starting to occur in the boundary layer as future forecast models may be able resolve individual thermals. Beyond that, scientific research has provided a greater understanding of detailed microphysical and land-surface processes that are important to aspects of weather prediction, and these parameterizations have been developing complexity at a steady rate. This paper can just give a perspective of these developments in the broad field of research associated with mesoscale atmospheric model development.