Dense fog simulation in southern Brazil using the WRF model with high spatial resolution

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Judith Rodrigues Cardoso
Edilson Marton
Flávia Rodrigues Pinheiro
William Cossich
Nilton Oliveira Moraes


Fog is an atmospheric phenomenon that reduces horizontal visibility to 1000 m or less. These phenomena affect different human activities, mainly those associated with air, maritime, and road transport. Rio Grande city, located in southern Brazil, has one of the main Brazilian ports, and fog occurrences at this location cause several inconveniences, such as the interruption of port activities and increases in operating costs. Thus, a better understanding of fog formation and dissipation, and the consequent improvement in its forecasts, can bring significant help to the port activities in that region. Therefore, this work seeks to evaluate the WRF model’s ability to simulate fog events in Rio Grande city. Four study cases of dense fogs were performed for this goal, as well as a sensitivity test to select the best vertical resolution configuration of the model. Meteorological data from the Rio Grande pilotage station and the Brazilian Coastal Monitoring System buoys were analyzed. Satellite images and synoptic charts were also analyzed for the study cases. The numerical simulations were performed using the WRF model with three nested domains, where 1 km was the highest horizontal resolution. The Fog Stability Index (FSI) and two estimates of horizontal visibility were evaluated. Simulations show promising results, highlighting the ability of the model to identify the fog occurrence in the area of interest and represent aspects of its dissipation process. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that the FSI and the evaluated visibility estimates were sensitive to the occurrence of the events.


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