Characterization of down-valley windsin stable stratification from the KASCADE field campaign and WRF mesoscale simulations

Abstract : Stable stratification can be one of the most penalizing condition concerning pollutants in the atmospheric boundary layer. Over complex terrain under these conditions, the relief may modify the flow. Therefore the knowledge of down-valley wind characteristics influencing the wind field at Cadarache and its close surroundings is crucial for safety regulation in the context of sanitary impact of the site. Cadarache is a CEA research centre and located in the Prealps of southeast France. It is embedded in a small valley, the Cadarache Valley (CV), which is one of the tributaries of the larger Durance Valley (DV). The two valleys are distinct in size and therefore react differently to stable conditions, and are investigated by means of observations (field experiment KASCADE : KAtabatic winds and Stability over CADarache for Dispersion of Effluents) and simulations (the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model). To investigate the valley wind behaviour, the KASCADE campaign has been designed and conducted in the winter of 2013, covering a 3-month period and 23 intensive observation periods (IOP). It resulted in a well-documented campaign, from which the analysis shows that the Cadarache and Durance down-valley (CDV and DDV respectively) winds are both dominant flows during the period of investigation. The CDV wind is a thermally driven flow, with regular wind speeds up to 2 – 3 m s-1 up to 50 m agl. It persists throughout the night and disappears in the early morning with the stability. The current observational network of Cadarache lacks means of measurement for inside CDV wind. This work shows that it can be nowcasted from available meteorological tower observations. Due to the CV small scale, currently a wind forecast on kilometer resolution is out of reach, but the methodology developed here can be used to forecast the wind through a combination of dynamical and statistical downscaling. The DDV wind has been recognized as down-valley oriented, and strongly related to stability at a regional scale, as it exists only after sunset when synoptic forcing is very weak. DDV wind arrival at Cadarache is mostly observed 6 to 9 hours after sunset, but however dominantly present around sunrise, when convectively driven processes are not yet established. Jets are observed mostly at around 200 m agl with wind speeds between 4 and 8 m s-1. Despite some (general) deficiencies of the WRF model, the DDV wind is simulated close to reality thanks to the 1-km resolution allowing a correct representation of the Durance valley orography. The ensemble of 23 simulated IOPs allowed further to characterize the flow in a spatial sense and to recognize drainage and flow channelling as most important candidates for the flow mechanism.
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Gert-Jan Duine. Characterization of down-valley windsin stable stratification from the KASCADE field campaign and WRF mesoscale simulations. Ocean, Atmosphere. Universite Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, 2015. English. ⟨tel-01263986⟩

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