Effects of lateral flow on the convective environment in a coupled hydrometeorological modeling system in a semiarid environment

Timothy M. Lahmers, Christopher L. Castro, Pieter Hazenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Evidence for surface and atmosphere coupling is corroborated in both modeling and observation-based field experiments. Recent advances in high-performance computing and development of convection-permitting regional-scale atmospheric models combined with high-resolution hydrologic models have made modeling of surface-atmosphere interactions feasible for the scientific community. These hydrological models can account for the impacts of the overland flow and subsurface flow components of the hydrologic cycle and account for the impact of lateral flow onmoisture redistribution at the land surface.One such model is theWeather Research and Forecasting (WRF) regional atmospheric model that can be coupled to the WRF-Hydro hydrologic model. In the present study, both the uncoupled WRF (WRF-ARW) and otherwise identical WRF-Hydro model are executed for the 2017 and 2018 summertime North American monsoon (NAM) seasons in semiarid central Arizona. In this environment, diurnal convection is impacted by precipitation recycling from the land surface. The goal of this work is to evaluate the impacts that surface runoff and shallow subsurface flow, as depicted inWRF-Hydro, have on surface-atmosphere interactions and convection in a coupled atmospheric simulation. The current work assesses the impact of surface hydrologic processes on 1) local surface energy budgets during the NAMthroughout Arizona and 2) the spectral behavior of diurnally drivenNAMcOnvection.Model results suggest that adding surface and subsurface flow from WRF-Hydro increases soilmoisture and latent heat near the surface. This increases the amount of instability and moisture available for deep convection in the model simulations and enhances the organization of convection at the peak of the diurnal cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-642
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Hydrometeorology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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