Hectometric-scale simulations of a Mediterranean heavy-precipitation event during the Hydrological cycle in the Mediterranean Experiment (HyMeX) first Special Observation Period (SOP1)

Nuissier, Olivier ; Duffourg, Fanny ; Martinet, Maxime ; Ducrocq, Véronique ; Lac, Christine

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<p align=justify>Offshore convection occurred over the Mediterranean sea on 26 October 2012 and was well documented during the first Special Observation Period (SOP1) of the Hydrological cycle in the Mediterranean Experiment (HyMeX). This paper analyses the triggering and organizing factors involved in this convection case study, and examines how they are simulated and represented at hectometric resolutions. For that purpose, a large-eddy simulation (LES) of this real case study is carried out with a 150 m horizontal resolution over a large domain encompassing the convective systems and the low-level flow feeding convection over the sea. This LES is then compared to a reference simulation performed with a 450 m grid spacing in the heart of the so-called "grey zone" of turbulence modelling. An increase in horizontal resolution from 450 down to 150 m is unable, for this case study, to reduce significantly deficiencies of the simulation; this is more related to an issue of initial and lateral boundary conditions. Indeed, some of the triggering factors, such as a converging low-level flow driven by a surface low-pressure system, are simulated quite similarly for both simulations. However, differences for other mechanisms still exist since greater surface precipitation amounts are simulated at 450 m. It is found that the entrainment process, characterized by small eddies at the cloud edges, is strongly underestimated at 450 m horizontal resolution, missing the mixing with the environmental air. Therefore, too rapid a development of deep convection is simulated at this horizontal resolution, associated with fast-track microphysical processes and enhanced dynamics. By contrast, at 150 m horizontal resolution, the updraught cores are mainly resolved, as are the subsiding shell, while subgrid eddies, produced by dynamical processes, are localized at the cloud interior edges, better representing the entrainment process. Furthermore, this first LES of a real Mediterranean precipitating case study highlights a convective organization with very fine-scale features within the converging low-level flow, features that are definitively out of range of models with kilometric horizontal resolutions.</p>
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