Mesoscale circulations in the urban-coastal environment
Carter, William Michael
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The overlap of urban and coastal atmospheric forcing mechanisms generates complex mesoscale circulations that are not easily interrogated using direct observational techniques. This study uses the WRF-ARW mesoscale model coupled to the NOAH land surface model and the WRF urban canopy model to conduct a series of simulations of a study area centered on Houston, TX in order to characterize these circulations. The results of these simulations are used to construct a conceptual model of urban-coastal circulations describing the evolution of the sea breeze front and convective pump. Additionally, a series of urban canopy parameters derived using remote sensing techniques were used to create an enhanced representation of urban land cover within the model. The inclusion of enhanced urban canopy parameters was found to reduce bias in the model simulation when compared with actual ground observations taken within the urban area. The impacts of these urban-coastal circulations were also assessed with regard to transport of atmospheric pollutants and contaminants.