Journal of Meteorological Research

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 421–432 | Cite as

Effect of Mesoscale Land Use Change on Characteristics of Convective Boundary Layer: Semi-Idealized Large Eddy Simulations over Northwest China

  • Bangjun Cao
  • Shuwen Zhang
  • Deqin Li
  • Yanlin Li
  • Linfan Zhou
  • Jiemin Wang
Regular Articles


Although large-scale topography and land use have been properly considered in weather and climate models, the effect of mesoscale and microscale heterogeneous land use on convective boundary layer (CBL) has not been fully understood yet. In this study, the influence of semi-idealized strip-like patches of oases and deserts, which resemble irrigated land use in Northwest China, on the CBL characteristics, is investigated based on the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF)-large eddy simulation (LES) driven by observed land surface data. The influences of soil water content in oases on aloft CBL flow structure, stability, turbulent kinetic energy (TKE), and vertical fluxes are carefully examined through a group of sensitivity experiments. The results show that secondary circulation (SC)/turbulent organized structures (TOS) is the strongest/weakest when soil water content in oases is close to saturation (e.g., when the oases are irrigated). With the decrease of soil water content in oases (i.e., after irrigation), SC (TOS) becomes weak (strong) in the lower and middle CBL, the flux induced by SC and TOS becomes small (large), which has a dramatic impact on point measurement of eddy covariance (EC) fluxes. The flux induced by SC and TOS has little influence on EC sensible heat flux, but great influence on EC latent heat flux. Under this circumstance, the area averaged heat flux cannot be represented by point measurement of flux by the EC method, especially just after irrigation in oases. Comparison of imbalance ratio (i.e., contribution of SC and TOS to the total flux) reveals that increased soil moisture in oases leads to a larger imbalance ratio as well as enhanced surface heterogeneity. Moreover, we found that the soil layer configuration at different depths has a negligible impact on the CBL flux properties.

Key words

oasis and desert land surface heterogeneity large eddy simulation soil water content secondary circulation turbulent organized structure 


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The observation data used in this paper were kindly provided by the MUlti-Scale Observation EXpEriment on Evapotranspiration over heterogeneous land surfaces 2012 (MUSOEXE-12) under the Heihe Watershed Allied Telemetry Experimental Research (HiWATER). See their website http://westdc. 144.html for details.


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Copyright information

© The Chinese Meteorological Society and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bangjun Cao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shuwen Zhang
    • 2
  • Deqin Li
    • 3
  • Yanlin Li
    • 2
  • Linfan Zhou
    • 2
  • Jiemin Wang
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Atmospheric SciencesChengdu University of Information TechnologyChengduChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory for Semi-Arid Climate Change of the Ministry of Education, College of Atmospheric SciencesLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina
  3. 3.Shenyang Central Meteorological ObservatoryShenyangChina
  4. 4.Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research InstituteChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina

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