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Multiresolution Ensemble Forecasts of an Observed Tornadic Thunderstorm System. Part II: Storm-Scale Experiments

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  • 1 Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 2 Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms, and School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 3 NOAA/Warning Decision Training Branch, Norman, Oklahoma
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Abstract

In Part I, the authors used a full physics, nonhydrostatic numerical model with horizontal grid spacing of 24 km and nested grids of 6- and 3-km spacing to generate the ensemble forecasts of an observed tornadic thunderstorm complex. The principal goal was to quantify the value added by fine grid spacing, as well as the assimilation of Doppler radar data, in both probabilistic and deterministic frameworks. The present paper focuses exclusively on 3-km horizontal grid spacing ensembles and the associated impacts on the forecast quality of temporal forecast sequencing, the construction of initial perturbations, and data assimilation. As in Part I, the authors employ a modified form of the scaled lagged average forecasting technique and use Stage IV accumulated precipitation estimates for verification. The ensemble mean and spread of accumulated precipitation are found to be similar in structure, mimicking their behavior in global models. Both the assimilation of Doppler radar data and the use of shorter (1–2 versus 3–5 h) forecast lead times improve ensemble precipitation forecasts. However, even at longer lead times and in certain situations without assimilated radar data, the ensembles are able to capture storm-scale features when the associated control forecast in a deterministic framework fails to do so. This indicates the potential value added by ensembles although this single case is not sufficient for drawing general conclusions. The creation of initial perturbations using forecasts of the same grid spacing shows no significant improvement over simply extracting perturbations from forecasts made at coarser spacing and interpolating them to finer grids. However, forecast quality is somewhat dependent upon perturbation amplitude, with smaller scaling values leading to significant underdispersion. Traditional forecast skill scores show somewhat contradictory results for accumulated precipitation, with the equitable threat score most consistent with qualitative performance.

* Current affiliation: Oklahoma Climatological Survey, Norman, Oklahoma

Corresponding author address: Dr. Fanyou Kong, Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms, University of Oklahoma, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., National Weather Center, Suite 2500, Norman, OK 73072. Email: fkong@ou.edu

Abstract

In Part I, the authors used a full physics, nonhydrostatic numerical model with horizontal grid spacing of 24 km and nested grids of 6- and 3-km spacing to generate the ensemble forecasts of an observed tornadic thunderstorm complex. The principal goal was to quantify the value added by fine grid spacing, as well as the assimilation of Doppler radar data, in both probabilistic and deterministic frameworks. The present paper focuses exclusively on 3-km horizontal grid spacing ensembles and the associated impacts on the forecast quality of temporal forecast sequencing, the construction of initial perturbations, and data assimilation. As in Part I, the authors employ a modified form of the scaled lagged average forecasting technique and use Stage IV accumulated precipitation estimates for verification. The ensemble mean and spread of accumulated precipitation are found to be similar in structure, mimicking their behavior in global models. Both the assimilation of Doppler radar data and the use of shorter (1–2 versus 3–5 h) forecast lead times improve ensemble precipitation forecasts. However, even at longer lead times and in certain situations without assimilated radar data, the ensembles are able to capture storm-scale features when the associated control forecast in a deterministic framework fails to do so. This indicates the potential value added by ensembles although this single case is not sufficient for drawing general conclusions. The creation of initial perturbations using forecasts of the same grid spacing shows no significant improvement over simply extracting perturbations from forecasts made at coarser spacing and interpolating them to finer grids. However, forecast quality is somewhat dependent upon perturbation amplitude, with smaller scaling values leading to significant underdispersion. Traditional forecast skill scores show somewhat contradictory results for accumulated precipitation, with the equitable threat score most consistent with qualitative performance.

* Current affiliation: Oklahoma Climatological Survey, Norman, Oklahoma

Corresponding author address: Dr. Fanyou Kong, Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms, University of Oklahoma, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., National Weather Center, Suite 2500, Norman, OK 73072. Email: fkong@ou.edu

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