Sensitivity of Hurricane Intensity Forecast to Convective Momentum Transport Parameterization

Jongil Han RS Information Systems, Inc., and Environmental Prediction Modeling Center, National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Camp Springs, Maryland

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Hua-Lu Pan Environmental Prediction Modeling Center, National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Camp Springs, Maryland

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Abstract

A parameterization of the convection-induced pressure gradient force (PGF) in convective momentum transport (CMT) is tested for hurricane intensity forecasting using NCEP's operational Global Forecast System (GFS) and its nested Regional Spectral Model (RSM). In the parameterization the PGF is assumed to be proportional to the product of the cloud mass flux and vertical wind shear. Compared to control forecasts using the present operational GFS and RSM where the PGF effect in CMT is taken into account empirically, the new PGF parameterization helps increase hurricane intensity by reducing the vertical momentum exchange, giving rise to a closer comparison to the observations. In addition, the new PGF parameterization forecasts not only show more realistically organized precipitation patterns with enhanced hurricane intensity but also reduce the forecast track error. Nevertheless, the model forecasts with the new PGF parameterization still largely underpredict the observed intensity. One of the many possible reasons for the large underprediction may be the absence of hurricane initialization in the models.

Corresponding author address: Jongil Han, 5200 Auth Road, WWB Rm. 207, Camp Springs, MD 20746. Email: Jongil.Han@noaa.gov

Abstract

A parameterization of the convection-induced pressure gradient force (PGF) in convective momentum transport (CMT) is tested for hurricane intensity forecasting using NCEP's operational Global Forecast System (GFS) and its nested Regional Spectral Model (RSM). In the parameterization the PGF is assumed to be proportional to the product of the cloud mass flux and vertical wind shear. Compared to control forecasts using the present operational GFS and RSM where the PGF effect in CMT is taken into account empirically, the new PGF parameterization helps increase hurricane intensity by reducing the vertical momentum exchange, giving rise to a closer comparison to the observations. In addition, the new PGF parameterization forecasts not only show more realistically organized precipitation patterns with enhanced hurricane intensity but also reduce the forecast track error. Nevertheless, the model forecasts with the new PGF parameterization still largely underpredict the observed intensity. One of the many possible reasons for the large underprediction may be the absence of hurricane initialization in the models.

Corresponding author address: Jongil Han, 5200 Auth Road, WWB Rm. 207, Camp Springs, MD 20746. Email: Jongil.Han@noaa.gov

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