The quality of weather forecasts strongly depends on the performance of numerical weather prediction models and areas of complex and mountainous terrain prove to be particularly challenging for numerical models. One of the reasons is that large spatial variations can occur within the atmospheric boundary-layer, that is, the lowest layer of the atmosphere. In fact, the large heterogeneity of the terrain and differences in vegetation and land use at varying altitudes affect the partitioning of the solar radiation received at the surface and, subsequently, the transport of heat and moisture between the ground and the atmosphere, determining the temperature field within the boundary-layer and leading to local wind circulations within mountainous terrain. A correct representation of these processes is crucial for successful model simulations.
The project “Atmospheric boundary-layer modeling over complex terrain” is a collaboration between the University of Trento, Bolzano and Innsbruck with the objective to evaluate turbulence and land surface parameterizations in mountainous terrain and to identify potential issues that have a large impact on model results. Improvements of these specific issues are expected to have large positive effects on numerical model simulations and consequently on weather forecasts. To evaluate the model performance, simulations of different case studies for two Alpine regions, the Austrian Inn Valley and the Italian Adige Valley, will be performed. Several years of high-quality turbulence measurements are available for model comparison in these two regions, with observations at multiple sites spanning a range of different terrain orientations and land use characteristics.
Total Budget of the project: € 432.507
Grant of UNITN: €145.442
Duration of the project: 36 months
Principal Investigator: Manuela Lehner (University of Innsbruck – lead partner), Lorenzo Giovannini (University of Trento), Leonardo Montagnani (University of Bolzano)