Parameterization

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Parameterization

Post  lynk2510 on Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:49 am

Parameterization
Main article: Parametrization (climate)

Some meteorological processes are too small-scale or too complex to be explicitly included in numerical weather prediction models. Parameterization is a procedure for representing these processes by relating them to variables on the scales that the model resolves. For example, the gridboxes in weather and climate models have sides that are between 5 kilometers (3 mi) and 300 kilometers (200 mi) in length. A typical cumulus cloud has a scale of less than 1 kilometer (0.6 mi), and would require a grid even finer than this to be represented physically by the equations of fluid motion. Therefore the processes that such clouds represent are parameterized, by processes of various sophistication. In the earliest models, if a column of air in a model gridbox was conditionally unstable (essentially, the bottom was warmer and moister than the top) and the water vapor content at any point within the column became saturated then it would be overturned (the warm, moist air would begin rising), and the air in that vertical column mixed.
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