Impacts of Modifications to a Local Planetary Boundary Layer Scheme on Forecasts of the Great Plains Low-Level Jet Environment

Thumbnail Image
Jahn, David
Major Professor
Committee Member
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Gallus, William
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Organizational Unit
Geological and Atmospheric Sciences

The Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences offers majors in three areas: Geology (traditional, environmental, or hydrogeology, for work as a surveyor or in mineral exploration), Meteorology (studies in global atmosphere, weather technology, and modeling for work as a meteorologist), and Earth Sciences (interdisciplinary mixture of geology, meteorology, and other natural sciences, with option of teacher-licensure).

The Department of Geology and Mining was founded in 1898. In 1902 its name changed to the Department of Geology. In 1965 its name changed to the Department of Earth Science. In 1977 its name changed to the Department of Earth Sciences. In 1989 its name changed to the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences.

Dates of Existence

Historical Names

  • Department of Geology and Mining (1898-1902)
  • Department of Geology (1902-1965)
  • Department of Earth Science (1965-1977)
  • Department of Earth Sciences (1977-1989)

Related Units

Journal Issue
Is Version Of
Human Computer Interaction

The Great Plains low-level jet (LLJ) is influential in the initiation and evolution of nocturnal convection through the northward advection of heat and moisture, as well as convergence in the region of the LLJ nose. However, accurate numerical model forecasts of LLJs remain a challenge, related to the performance of the planetary boundary layer (PBL) scheme in the stable boundary layer. Evaluated here using a series of LLJ cases from the Plains Elevated Convection at Night (PECAN) program are modifications to a commonly used local PBL scheme, Mellor–Yamada–Nakanishi–Niino (MYNN), available in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model. WRF forecast mean absolute error (MAE) and bias are calculated relative to PECAN rawinsonde observations. The first MYNN modification invokes a new set of constants for the scheme closure equations that, in the vicinity of the LLJ, decreases forecast MAEs of wind speed, potential temperature, and specific humidity more than 19%. For comparison, the Yonsei University (YSU) scheme results in wind speed MAEs 22% lower but specific humidity MAEs 17% greater than in the original MYNN scheme. The second MYNN modification, which incorporates the effects of potential kinetic energy and uses a nonzero mixing length in stable conditions as dependent on bulk shear, reduces wind speed MAEs 66% for levels below the LLJ, but increases MAEs at higher levels. Finally, Rapid Refresh analyses, which are often used for forecast verification, are evaluated here and found to exhibit a relatively large average wind speed bias of 3 m s−1in the region below the LLJ, but with relatively small potential temperature and specific humidity biases.


This article is published as Jahn, David E., and William A. Gallus Jr. "Impacts of modifications to a local planetary boundary layer scheme on forecasts of the Great Plains low-level jet environment." Weather and Forecasting 33, no. 5 (2018): 1109-1120. DOI: 10.1175/WAF-D-18-0036.1. Posted with permission.

Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2018