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Assessment of global model simulations of present and future climate

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Climate change has been one of the major issues of global economic and social concerns in the past decade. To quantitatively predict global climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations have organized a multi-national

Climate change has been one of the major issues of global economic and social concerns in the past decade. To quantitatively predict global climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations have organized a multi-national effort to use global atmosphere-ocean models to project anthropogenically induced climate changes in the 21st century. The computer simulations performed with those models and archived by the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project - Phase 5 (CMIP5) form the most comprehensive quantitative basis for the prediction of global environmental changes on decadal-to-centennial time scales. While the CMIP5 archives have been widely used for policy making, the inherent biases in the models have not been systematically examined. The main objective of this study is to validate the CMIP5 simulations of the 20th century climate with observations to quantify the biases and uncertainties in state-of-the-art climate models. Specifically, this work focuses on three major features in the atmosphere: the jet streams over the North Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and the low level jet (LLJ) stream over central North America which affects the weather in the United States, and the near-surface wind field over North America which is relevant to energy applications. The errors in the model simulations of those features are systematically quantified and the uncertainties in future predictions are assessed for stakeholders to use in climate applications. Additional atmospheric model simulations are performed to determine the sources of the errors in climate models. The results reject a popular idea that the errors in the sea surface temperature due to an inaccurate ocean circulation contributes to the errors in major atmospheric jet streams.

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2014

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Numerical study of the effect of urbanization on the climate

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This study uses the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to simulate and predict the changes in local climate attributed to the urbanization for five desert cities. The simulations are performed in the fashion of climate downscaling, constrained by the

This study uses the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to simulate and predict the changes in local climate attributed to the urbanization for five desert cities. The simulations are performed in the fashion of climate downscaling, constrained by the surface boundary conditions generated from high resolution land-use maps. For each city, the land-use maps of 1985 and 2010 from Landsat satellite observation, and a projected land-use map for 2030, are used to represent the past, present, and future. An additional set of simulations for Las Vegas, the largest of the five cities, uses the NLCD 1992 and 2006 land-use maps and an idealized historical land-use map with no urban coverage for 1900.

The study finds that urbanization in Las Vegas produces a classic urban heat island (UHI) at night but a minor cooling during the day. A further analysis of the surface energy balance shows that the decrease in surface Albedo and increase effective emissivity play an important role in shaping the local climate change over urban areas. The emerging urban structures slow down the diurnal wind circulation over the city due to an increased effective surface roughness. This leads to a secondary modification of temperature due to the interaction between the mechanical and thermodynamic effects of urbanization.

The simulations for the five desert cities for 1985 and 2010 further confirm a common pattern of the climatic effect of urbanization with significant nighttime warming and moderate daytime cooling. This effect is confined to the urban area and is not sensitive to the size of the city or the detail of land cover in the surrounding areas. The pattern of nighttime warming and daytime cooling remains robust in the simulations for the future climate of the five cities using the projected 2030 land-use maps. Inter-city differences among the five urban areas are discussed.

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2015

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Investigations of environmental effects on freeway acoustics

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The role of environmental factors that influence atmospheric propagation of sound originating from freeway noise sources is studied with a combination of field experiments and numerical simulations. Acoustic propagation models are developed and adapted for refractive index depending upon meteorological

The role of environmental factors that influence atmospheric propagation of sound originating from freeway noise sources is studied with a combination of field experiments and numerical simulations. Acoustic propagation models are developed and adapted for refractive index depending upon meteorological conditions. A high-resolution multi-nested environmental forecasting model forced by coarse global analysis is applied to predict real meteorological profiles at fine scales. These profiles are then used as input for the acoustic models. Numerical methods for producing higher resolution acoustic refractive index fields are proposed. These include spatial and temporal nested meteorological simulations with vertical grid refinement. It is shown that vertical nesting can improve the prediction of finer structures in near-ground temperature and velocity profiles, such as morning temperature inversions and low level jet-like features. Accurate representation of these features is shown to be important for modeling sound refraction phenomena and for enabling accurate noise assessment. Comparisons are made using the acoustic model for predictions with profiles derived from meteorological simulations and from field experiment observations in Phoenix, Arizona. The challenges faced in simulating accurate meteorological profiles at high resolution for sound propagation applications are highlighted and areas for possible improvement are discussed.

A detailed evaluation of the environmental forecast is conducted by investigating the Surface Energy Balance (SEB) obtained from observations made with an eddy-covariance flux tower compared with SEB from simulations using several physical parameterizations of urban effects and planetary boundary layer schemes. Diurnal variation in SEB constituent fluxes are examined in relation to surface layer stability and modeled diagnostic variables. Improvement is found when adapting parameterizations for Phoenix with reduced errors in the SEB components. Finer model resolution (to 333 m) is seen to have insignificant ($<1\sigma$) influence on mean absolute percent difference of 30-minute diurnal mean SEB terms. A new method of representing inhomogeneous urban development density derived from observations of impervious surfaces with sub-grid scale resolution is then proposed for mesoscale applications. This method was implemented and evaluated within the environmental modeling framework. Finally, a new semi-implicit scheme based on Leapfrog and a fourth-order implicit time-filter is developed.

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2014

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Optimization of the implementation of renewable resources in a municipal electric utility in Arizona

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A municipal electric utility in Mesa, Arizona with a peak load of approximately 85 megawatts (MW) was analyzed to determine how the implementation of renewable resources (both wind and solar) would affect the overall cost of energy purchased by the

A municipal electric utility in Mesa, Arizona with a peak load of approximately 85 megawatts (MW) was analyzed to determine how the implementation of renewable resources (both wind and solar) would affect the overall cost of energy purchased by the utility. The utility currently purchases all of its energy through long term energy supply contracts and does not own any generation assets and so optimization was achieved by minimizing the overall cost of energy while adhering to specific constraints on how much energy the utility could purchase from the short term energy market. Scenarios were analyzed for a five percent and a ten percent penetration of renewable energy in the years 2015 and 2025. Demand Side Management measures (through thermal storage in the City's district cooling system, electric vehicles, and customers' air conditioning improvements) were evaluated to determine if they would mitigate some of the cost increases that resulted from the addition of renewable resources.

In the 2015 simulation, wind energy was less expensive than solar to integrate to the supply mix. When five percent of the utility's energy requirements in 2015 are met by wind, this caused a 3.59% increase in the overall cost of energy. When that five percent is met by solar in 2015, it is estimated to cause a 3.62% increase in the overall cost of energy. A mix of wind and solar in 2015 caused a lower increase in the overall cost of energy of 3.57%. At the ten percent implementation level in 2015, solar, wind, and a mix of solar and wind caused increases of 7.28%, 7.51% and 7.27% respectively in the overall cost of energy.

In 2025, at the five percent implementation level, wind and solar caused increases in the overall cost of energy of 3.07% and 2.22% respectively. In 2025, at the ten percent implementation level, wind and solar caused increases in the overall cost of energy of 6.23% and 4.67% respectively.

Demand Side Management reduced the overall cost of energy by approximately 0.6%, mitigating some of the cost increase from adding renewable resources.

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2014

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Experimental study of pressure and main gas ingestion distributions in a model rotor-stator disk cavity

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Ingestion of high temperature mainstream gas into the rotor-stator cavities of a gas turbine is one of the major problems faced by the turbine designers. The ingested gas heats up rotor disks and induces higher thermal stresses on them, giving

Ingestion of high temperature mainstream gas into the rotor-stator cavities of a gas turbine is one of the major problems faced by the turbine designers. The ingested gas heats up rotor disks and induces higher thermal stresses on them, giving rise to durability concern. Ingestion is usually reduced by installing seals on the rotor and stator rims and by purging the disk cavity by secondary air bled from the compressor discharge. The geometry of the rim seals and the secondary air flow rate, together, influence the amount of gas that gets ingested into the cavities. Since the amount of secondary air bled off has a negative effect on the gas turbine thermal efficiency, one goal is to use the least possible amount of secondary air. This requires a good understanding of the flow and ingestion fields within a disk cavity. In the present study, the mainstream gas ingestion phenomenon has been experimentally studied in a model single-stage axial flow gas turbine. The turbine stage featured vanes and blades, and rim seals on both the rotor and stator. Additionally, the disk cavity contained a labyrinth seal radially inboard which effectively divided the cavity into a rim cavity and an inner cavity. Time-average static pressure measurements were obtained at various radial positions within the disk cavity, and in the mainstream gas path at three axial locations at the outer shroud spread circumferentially over two vane pitches. The time-average static pressure in the main gas path exhibited a periodic asymmetry following the vane pitch whose amplitude diminished with increasing distance from the vane trailing edge. The static pressure distribution increased with the secondary air flow rate within the inner cavity but was found to be almost independent of it in the rim cavity. Tracer gas (CO2) concentration measurements were conducted to determine the sealing effectiveness of the rim seals against main gas ingestion. For the rim cavity, the sealing effectiveness increased with the secondary air flow rate. Within the inner cavity however, this trend reversed -this may have been due to the presence of rotating low-pressure flow structures inboard of the labyrinth seal.

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2013

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Improving climate projections through the assessment of model uncertainty and bias in the global water cycle

Description

The implications of a changing climate have a profound impact on human life, society, and policy making. The need for accurate climate prediction becomes increasingly important as we better understand these implications. Currently, the most widely used climate prediction relies

The implications of a changing climate have a profound impact on human life, society, and policy making. The need for accurate climate prediction becomes increasingly important as we better understand these implications. Currently, the most widely used climate prediction relies on the synthesis of climate model simulations organized by the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP); these simulations are ensemble-averaged to construct projections for the 21st century climate. However, a significant degree of bias and variability in the model simulations for the 20th century climate is well-known at both global and regional scales. Based on that insight, this study provides an alternative approach for constructing climate projections that incorporates knowledge of model bias. This approach is demonstrated to be a viable alternative which can be easily implemented by water resource managers for potentially more accurate projections. Tests of the new approach are provided on a global scale with an emphasis on semiarid regional studies for their particular vulnerability to water resource changes, using both the former CMIP Phase 3 (CMIP3) and current Phase 5 (CMIP5) model archives. This investigation is accompanied by a detailed analysis of the dynamical processes and water budget to understand the behaviors and sources of model biases. Sensitivity studies of selected CMIP5 models are also performed with an atmospheric component model by testing the relationship between climate change forcings and model simulated response. The information derived from each study is used to determine the progressive quality of coupled climate models in simulating the global water cycle by rigorously investigating sources of model bias related to the moisture budget. As such, the conclusions of this project are highly relevant to model development and potentially may be used to further improve climate projections.

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2013

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Coherent Doppler LIDAR for boundary layer studies and wind energy

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This thesis outlines the development of a vector retrieval technique, based on data assimilation, for a coherent Doppler LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging). A detailed analysis of the Optimal Interpolation (OI) technique for vector retrieval is presented. Through several modifications

This thesis outlines the development of a vector retrieval technique, based on data assimilation, for a coherent Doppler LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging). A detailed analysis of the Optimal Interpolation (OI) technique for vector retrieval is presented. Through several modifications to the OI technique, it is shown that the modified technique results in significant improvement in velocity retrieval accuracy. These modifications include changes to innovation covariance portioning, covariance binning, and analysis increment calculation. It is observed that the modified technique is able to make retrievals with better accuracy, preserves local information better, and compares well with tower measurements. In order to study the error of representativeness and vector retrieval error, a lidar simulator was constructed. Using the lidar simulator a thorough sensitivity analysis of the lidar measurement process and vector retrieval is carried out. The error of representativeness as a function of scales of motion and sensitivity of vector retrieval to look angle is quantified. Using the modified OI technique, study of nocturnal flow in Owens' Valley, CA was carried out to identify and understand uncharacteristic events on the night of March 27th 2006. Observations from 1030 UTC to 1230 UTC (0230 hr local time to 0430 hr local time) on March 27 2006 are presented. Lidar observations show complex and uncharacteristic flows such as sudden bursts of westerly cross-valley wind mixing with the dominant up-valley wind. Model results from Coupled Ocean/Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System (COAMPS®) and other in-situ instrumentations are used to corroborate and complement these observations. The modified OI technique is used to identify uncharacteristic and extreme flow events at a wind development site. Estimates of turbulence and shear from this technique are compared to tower measurements. A formulation for equivalent wind speed in the presence of variations in wind speed and direction, combined with shear is developed and used to determine wind energy content in presence of turbulence.

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2013

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Study of cross-flow cooling efects in a stirling engine heat exchanger

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While much effort in Stirling engine development is placed on making the high-temperature region of the Stirling engine warmer, this research explores methods to lower the temperature of the cold region by improving heat transfer in the cooler. This paper

While much effort in Stirling engine development is placed on making the high-temperature region of the Stirling engine warmer, this research explores methods to lower the temperature of the cold region by improving heat transfer in the cooler. This paper presents heat transfer coefficients obtained for a Stirling engine heat exchanger with oscillatory flow. The effects of oscillating frequency and input heat rate on the heat transfer coefficients are evaluated and details on the design and development of the heat exchanger test apparatus are also explained. Featured results include the relationship between overall heat transfer coefficients and oscillation frequency which increase from 21.5 to 46.1 Wm-2K-1 as the oscillation frequency increases from 6.0 to 19.3 Hz. A correlation for the Nusselt number on the inside of the heat exchange tubes in oscillatory flow is presented in a concise, dimensionless form in terms of the kinetic Reynolds number as a result of a statistical analysis. The test apparatus design is proven to be successful throughout its implementation due to the usefulness of data and clear trends observed. The author is not aware of any other publicly-available research on a Stirling engine cooler to the extent presented in this paper. Therefore, the present results are analyzed on a part-by-part basis and compared to segments of other research; however, strong correlations with data from other studies are not expected. The data presented in this paper are part of a continuing effort to better understand heat transfer properties in Stirling engines as well as other oscillating flow applications.

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2011

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Numerical methods and simulations of complex multiphase flows

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Multiphase flows are an important part of many natural and technological phe- nomena such as ocean-air coupling (which is important for climate modeling) and the atomization of liquid fuel jets in combustion engines. The unique challenges of multiphase flow often

Multiphase flows are an important part of many natural and technological phe- nomena such as ocean-air coupling (which is important for climate modeling) and the atomization of liquid fuel jets in combustion engines. The unique challenges of multiphase flow often make analytical solutions to the governing equations impos- sible and experimental investigations very difficult. Thus, high-fidelity numerical simulations can play a pivotal role in understanding these systems. This disserta- tion describes numerical methods developed for complex multiphase flows and the simulations performed using these methods. First, the issue of multiphase code verification is addressed. Code verification answers the question "Is this code solving the equations correctly?" The method of manufactured solutions (MMS) is a procedure for generating exact benchmark solutions which can test the most general capabilities of a code. The chief obstacle to applying MMS to multiphase flow lies in the discontinuous nature of the material properties at the interface. An extension of the MMS procedure to multiphase flow is presented, using an adaptive marching tetrahedron style algorithm to compute the source terms near the interface. Guidelines for the use of the MMS to help locate coding mistakes are also detailed. Three multiphase systems are then investigated: (1) the thermocapillary motion of three-dimensional and axisymmetric drops in a confined apparatus, (2) the flow of two immiscible fluids completely filling an enclosed cylinder and driven by the rotation of the bottom endwall, and (3) the atomization of a single drop subjected to a high shear turbulent flow. The systems are simulated numerically by solving the full multiphase Navier- Stokes equations coupled to the various equations of state and a level set interface tracking scheme based on the refined level set grid method. The codes have been parallelized using MPI in order to take advantage of today's very large parallel computational architectures. In the first system, the code's ability to handle surface tension and large tem- perature gradients is established. In the second system, the code's ability to sim- ulate simple interface geometries with strong shear is demonstrated. In the third system, the ability to handle extremely complex geometries and topology changes with strong shear is shown.

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2011

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Modeling and optimization of a hybrid solar PV-powered air conditioning system with ice storage

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In this thesis the performance of a Hybrid AC System (HACS) is modeled and optimized. The HACS utilizes solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to help reduce the demand from the utility during peak hours. The system also includes an ice Thermal

In this thesis the performance of a Hybrid AC System (HACS) is modeled and optimized. The HACS utilizes solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to help reduce the demand from the utility during peak hours. The system also includes an ice Thermal Energy Storage (TES) tank to accumulate cooling energy during off-peak hours. The AC runs continuously on grid power during off-peak hours to generate cooling for the house and to store thermal energy in the TES. During peak hours, the AC runs on the power supplied from the PV, and cools the house along with the energy stored in the TES. A higher initial cost is expected due to the additional components of the HACS (PV and TES), but a lower operational cost due to higher energy efficiency, energy storage and renewable energy utilization. A house cooled by the HACS will require a smaller size AC unit (about 48% less in the rated capacity), compared to a conventional AC system. To compare the cost effectiveness of the HACS with a regular AC system, time-of-use (TOU) utility rates are considered, as well as the cost of the system components and the annual maintenance. The model shows that the HACS pays back its initial cost of $28k in about 6 years with an 8% APR, and saves about $45k in total cost when compared to a regular AC system that cools the same house for the same period of 6 years.

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2011