A three-day mesoscale numerical simulation has been performed over the narrow Salento peninsula (south-eastern Italy) during summer conditions characterised by weak synoptic forcing. These atmospheric conditions favour the development of complex sea-breeze systems and convergence zones on the peninsula. The aim of this work is to investigate the ability of an atmospheric mesoscale model to reproduce the surface fields of meteorological variables in the presence of local-scale forcing and breeze circulations, which are fundamental in applications such as air pollution modelling and nowcasting.
The modelled fields have been compared with available surface measurements and sodar data. Results indicate that the model can simulate the general mean wind field in a realistic way. The diurnal evolution of the wind is well reproduced and the maximum deviations mostly occur during the night, being associated with calm conditions.
Statistical analysis indicates that the typical mean bias is found to be about 1 m s-1 for hourly averaged wind speed, less than 20° for wind direction and about 1°C for temperature. The root mean square error (rmse) varies from 1 to 3 m s-1 for wind speed, from 50° to 70° for wind direction, and is about 2.4°C for temperature. All the values of the numerical indexes are within ranges which are characteristic of those found for other state-of-the-art models applied to similar cases studies.
Despite a good overall agreement between predictions and observations, some discrepancies were found in the individual profiles due both to the limited spatial representation of the local details and to the complex wind field which makes the space–time matching between the model and the observations quite critical.
The structures of the thermal mixed layer and the breeze convergence zone are similar to numerical studies relative to more idealised conditions.