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Title: High resolution numerical modeling of the atmospheric circulation over complex terrain
Tutor: Cenedese, Antonio
Keywords: Large-Eddy Simulation
slope winds
boundary-layer height
turbulent kinetic energy budget
surface flux heterogeneity
Issue Date: 14-Jun-2010
Abstract: A detailed knowledge of the atmospheric circulation which characterizes the complex Planetary Boundary Layers (PBLs) typical of mountainous regions is of great interest for environmental assessment studies. Furthermore, efforts are underway in developing wind farms, often located in mountainous areas; efficient wind power-plants require detailed and reliable knowledge of wind fluctuations near the surface which cannot be learned from regional-scale investigations. The Large Eddy Simulation (LES) methodology provides three-dimensional, time evolving structure of turbulence and a much more accurate estimate of turbulence statistics compared to those from PBL schemes used by operative meteorological models. In the present work the coherent structures and the turbulent characteristics of a complex PBL driven by surface heating, thermally-induced circulations and geostrophic wind forcing is investigated by means of the LES technique. The three-dimensional non-hydrostatic meteorological model WRF is used with a LES grid resolution to explicitly resolve the energy-containing turbulent eddies and is modified to include a new formulation for the filter width of the subgrid scale model. The LES model is coupled with a wall scheme and surface heat and momentum fluxes are computed based on Monin-Obukhov surface similarity theory.
Research interests: At present time my research activity is mainly focused on mesoscale and microscale local winds dynamics, investigated with the Large-Eddy Simulation (LES) technique. My research also focuses on theoretical and laboratory investigations of convective phenomena. I am contributing to the development of the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) code for LES and mesoscale applications. Since 2008 I have also focused my interest on the study and modelling of air pollution and the generation of secondary pollutants due to photochemical reactions. Since 2005 I have focused my studies on non-hydrostatic numerical modeling, particularly on the development of the WRF model to improve mesoscale simulations. In 2003 and 2004 I studied sea-land breezes and urban heat islands circulations by means of a thermally controlled water tank, using the Feature Tracking image analysis technique. In 2002 I studied penetrative convection by means of a thermally controlled water tank using the Particle Tracking Velocimetry (PTV) image analysis technique.
Skills short description: I worked with and developed meteorological and Computational Fluid Dynamics models, for research, educational and engineering purposes. In my papers, I provided theoretical developments on local winds circulation. I have been involved in research projects which includes experimental and field measurements. I have been developing research projects in collaboration with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder (CO) and the University of California, Los Angeles (CA). I have been constantly presenting the advancements of my research at international conferences and research groups, including invited talks and seminars. The main findings of my research have been published on peer reviewed journals and a solicited book chapter. I have been involved in teaching and supervising graduate and undergraduate students as part of my PhD program and during my present Postdoctoral position.
Personal skills keywords: numerical theoretical and experimental modeling
high performance computing programming
team spirit
communication and project management

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