Date of Award

Winter 1981

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Ocean/Earth/Atmos Sciences

Committee Director

Earl C. Kindle

Committee Member

Chester Grosch

Committee Member

Ronald E. Johnson

Committee Member

Thomas B. Gatski


Because of the step function variability of heat and moisture flux in coastal zones, adequate descriptive models of mesoscale coastal circulation and weather patterns demand high spatial resolution in the analysis of wind, temperature and moisture patterns. To obtain realistic concepts of offshore flow the sparse offshore data networks need to be supplemented by mesoscale numerical models. The problems associated with the modeling of offshore flow across the east coast of the United States during the winter season have been investigated with a simple two dimensional numerical model of the planetary boundary layer.

The model has two predictive equations for the potential temperature and humidity fields. A diagnostic equation based upon observed data is used to determine wind velocities. At each horizontal step the wind was integrated with height, and the equations for the temperature and humidity were solved for each level. A second order model using the Dufort-Frankel finite difference scheme with two vertical grid spacing and eddy coefficient formulations was applied to actual cases of offshore winter flow. The results of the model were compared with measurements at anemometer level at offshore stations. Different flux formulations were tested. Key problems related to the use of the Dufort-Frankel scheme were indicated.

Problems associated with the use of a K-theory profile for the turbulent fluxes in the marine planetary boundary layer were isolated. The initial air-sea temperature difference and the K-theory formulations were crucial to the computational stability of the model as well as the resolution of the model, even after the stability problems were solved. A bulk aerodynamic formulation produced better results in the marine surface layer, however when merged with K-theory for the rest of the planetary boundary layer disastrous results can occur. A first order model with a similar resolution was applied to the same situation and showed superior results.