A Variational Method for Analyzing Vortex Flows in Radar-Scanned Tornadic Mesocyclones. Part III: Sensitivities to Vortex Center Location Errors

Qin Xu aNOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma

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Li Wei bCooperative Institute for Severe and High-Impact Weather Research and Operations, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

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Abstract

When the vortex center location is estimated from a radar-scanned tornadic mesocyclone, the estimated location is not error-free. This raises an important issue concerning the sensitivities of analyzed vortex flow (VF) fields by the VF-Var (formulated in Part I of this paper series and tested in Part II) to vortex center location errors, denoted by Δxc. Numerical experiments are performed to address this issue with the following findings: The increase of |Δxc| from zero to a half of vortex core radius causes large analysis error increases in the vortex core but the increased analysis errors decrease rapidly away from the vortex core especially for dual-Doppler analyses. The increased horizontal-velocity errors in the vortex core are mainly in the Δxc-normal component, because this component varies much more rapidly than the other component along the Δxc direction in the vortex core. The vertical variations of Δxc distort the vertical correlation structure of Δxc-dislocated VF-dependent background error covariance, which can increase the analysis errors in the vortex core. The dual-Doppler analyses have adequate accuracies outside the vortex core even when |Δxc| increases to a half of vortex core radius, while single-Doppler analyses can also have adequate accuracies outside the vortex core mainly for the single-Doppler-observed velocity component. The sensitivities to Δxc are largely unaffected by the vortex slanting. The above findings are important and useful for assessing the accuracies of analyzed VFs for real radar-observed tornadic mesocyclones.

Significance Statement

When the vortex center location is estimated from a radar-scanned tornadic mesocyclone, the estimated location is not error-free. This raises an issue concerning the sensitivity of analyzed vortex flow (VF) by the VF-Var (formulated in Part I of this paper series and tested with simulated radar observations in Part II) to vortex center location error. This issue and its required investigations are very important for the VF-Var to be applied to real radar-observed tornadic mesocyclones, especially in an operational setting with the WSR-88Ds. Numerical experiments are performed to address this issue. The findings from these experiments are important and useful for assessing the accuracies of VF-Var analyzed VF fields for real radar-observed tornadic mesocyclones.

© 2022 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Qin Xu, qin.xu@noaa.gov

Abstract

When the vortex center location is estimated from a radar-scanned tornadic mesocyclone, the estimated location is not error-free. This raises an important issue concerning the sensitivities of analyzed vortex flow (VF) fields by the VF-Var (formulated in Part I of this paper series and tested in Part II) to vortex center location errors, denoted by Δxc. Numerical experiments are performed to address this issue with the following findings: The increase of |Δxc| from zero to a half of vortex core radius causes large analysis error increases in the vortex core but the increased analysis errors decrease rapidly away from the vortex core especially for dual-Doppler analyses. The increased horizontal-velocity errors in the vortex core are mainly in the Δxc-normal component, because this component varies much more rapidly than the other component along the Δxc direction in the vortex core. The vertical variations of Δxc distort the vertical correlation structure of Δxc-dislocated VF-dependent background error covariance, which can increase the analysis errors in the vortex core. The dual-Doppler analyses have adequate accuracies outside the vortex core even when |Δxc| increases to a half of vortex core radius, while single-Doppler analyses can also have adequate accuracies outside the vortex core mainly for the single-Doppler-observed velocity component. The sensitivities to Δxc are largely unaffected by the vortex slanting. The above findings are important and useful for assessing the accuracies of analyzed VFs for real radar-observed tornadic mesocyclones.

Significance Statement

When the vortex center location is estimated from a radar-scanned tornadic mesocyclone, the estimated location is not error-free. This raises an issue concerning the sensitivity of analyzed vortex flow (VF) by the VF-Var (formulated in Part I of this paper series and tested with simulated radar observations in Part II) to vortex center location error. This issue and its required investigations are very important for the VF-Var to be applied to real radar-observed tornadic mesocyclones, especially in an operational setting with the WSR-88Ds. Numerical experiments are performed to address this issue. The findings from these experiments are important and useful for assessing the accuracies of VF-Var analyzed VF fields for real radar-observed tornadic mesocyclones.

© 2022 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Qin Xu, qin.xu@noaa.gov
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