One Eulerian and two Lagrangian tracers’ tools are evaluated for studies on atmospheric moisture sources and pathways. The first method has been recently implemented online into the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) mesoscale model (Insua-Costa and Míguez-Macho, 2017), while the Lagrangian methods are described here. In these methods, a moisture volume is assigned to each particle which is then advected by the wind flow. Usual Lagrangian methods consider this volume to remain constant and the particle follows exactly the stream lines of the flow (Stohl and James, 2004). On the other hand, the initial moisture volume can be thought to depend on time as the flow is advected due to thermodynamic processes (for example, pressure, and temperature changes). In this case, the drag on the tracer volume must be taken into account. Equations have been implemented and moisture convection (Forster et al., 2007) was taken into account for both Lagrangian models.
We apply these methods to evaluate the intense atmospheric river (AR; i.e., a narrow plume of strong water vapor flux) that devastated the Pacific North Western America with flooding rains and intense winds in early November 2006 (Neiman et al., 2008). We note that the usual Lagrangian method underestimate moisture availability on the continent while the active tracers (both Eulerian and Lagrangian) achieve better results.
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