Gerken, T; Babel, W; Sun, F; Herzog, M; Ma, Y; Foken, T; Graf, HF: Uncertainty in atmospheric profiles and its impact on modeled convection development at Nam Co Lake, Tibetan Plateau, Journal of Geophysical Research, Atmospheres, 118, 12,317–12,331 (2013), doi:10.1002/2013JD020647

This work investigates the influence of atmospheric temperature and relative humidity profi les obtained from radiosoundings, NCEP I and ERA-INT reanalysis and GFS-FNL analysis data on the simulated evolution of clouds and convection at Nam Co Lake on the Tibetan Plateau. In addition to di fferences in moisture, the initial atmospheric profi les exhibit considerable di fferences in near surface temperatures that aff ect vertical stability. Our analysis is carried out during two days in summer 2012 using a 2D high-resolution modeling approach with a fully interactive surface model so that surface fluxes react to changes in cloud cover. Modeled convection for the radiosounding profi le compares reasonably well with weather observations for the fi rst day, but less well for the second day, when large-scale synoptic e ffects, not included in the model, become more important. The choice of vertical pro file information leads to strongly diff ering convection development, translating into modi fications of the surface energy balance and of the energy and water cycle for the basin. There are strong di fferences spanning one order of magnitude in the generated precipitation between the model simulations driven by diff erent vertical profi les. This highlights the importance of correct and high resolution vertical profi les for model initialization.

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