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QNH: Mesoscale Bounded Derivative Initialization and Winter Storm Test over Complex Terrain

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  • 1 Forecast Systems Laboratory, NOAA/ERL/Boulder, Colorado and CIRA, Colorado State University, Foothills Campus, Fort Collins, Colorado
  • | 2 CIRA, Colorado State University, Foothills Campus, Fort Collins, Colorado
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Abstract

Mesoscale bounded derivative initialization (BDI) is utilized to derive dynamical constraints, from which elliptic equations are formulated to derive smooth initial fields over complex terrain for mesoscale models. The initialization is implemented specifically for the quasi-nonhydrostatic (QNH) model. This study presents the first real data application of the mesoscale BDI and the QNH model to simulate a mesoscale storm that produced heavy precipitation along the Colorado Front Range. In this study, the focus is on (i) smooth numerical solution over complex terrain, (ii) baroclinic instability associated with condensational heating and high mountains, and (iii) the simulation of orographic precipitation. Numerical results show that initial fields derived from BDI were smooth and evolved smoothly in the QNH model for 48 h. It is noteworthy that the smooth solution existed up to the lateral boundaries. During the 48-h simulation, the midtropospheric storm moved freely in and out of the limited-area domain as if there were no lateral boundaries. The mesoscale storm for northeast Colorado was initiated by the persistent upslope easterlies and strong upward motions that triggered heavy precipitation. The simulated precipitation amounts and pattern were in good agreement with those observed. In general, both the large-scale dynamic system and the mesoscale precipitation event evolved smoothly and accurately, which indicates the value of BDI and QNH for mesoscale weather prediction.

Corresponding author address: J. L. Lee, NOAA/ERL/Forecast Systems Laboratory, R/E/FS, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80523.

Email: jlee@fsl.noaa.gov

Abstract

Mesoscale bounded derivative initialization (BDI) is utilized to derive dynamical constraints, from which elliptic equations are formulated to derive smooth initial fields over complex terrain for mesoscale models. The initialization is implemented specifically for the quasi-nonhydrostatic (QNH) model. This study presents the first real data application of the mesoscale BDI and the QNH model to simulate a mesoscale storm that produced heavy precipitation along the Colorado Front Range. In this study, the focus is on (i) smooth numerical solution over complex terrain, (ii) baroclinic instability associated with condensational heating and high mountains, and (iii) the simulation of orographic precipitation. Numerical results show that initial fields derived from BDI were smooth and evolved smoothly in the QNH model for 48 h. It is noteworthy that the smooth solution existed up to the lateral boundaries. During the 48-h simulation, the midtropospheric storm moved freely in and out of the limited-area domain as if there were no lateral boundaries. The mesoscale storm for northeast Colorado was initiated by the persistent upslope easterlies and strong upward motions that triggered heavy precipitation. The simulated precipitation amounts and pattern were in good agreement with those observed. In general, both the large-scale dynamic system and the mesoscale precipitation event evolved smoothly and accurately, which indicates the value of BDI and QNH for mesoscale weather prediction.

Corresponding author address: J. L. Lee, NOAA/ERL/Forecast Systems Laboratory, R/E/FS, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80523.

Email: jlee@fsl.noaa.gov

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