A Vortex Relocation Scheme for Tropical Cyclone Initialization in Advanced Research WRF

Ling-Feng Hsiao Central Weather Bureau, and Taiwan Typhoon and Flood Research Institute, Taipei, Taiwan

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Chi-Sann Liou Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, California

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Tien-Chiang Yeh Central Weather Bureau, Taipei, Taiwan

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Yong-Run Guo National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Der-Song Chen Central Weather Bureau, Taipei, Taiwan

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Kang-Ning Huang Central Weather Bureau, Taipei, Taiwan

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Chuen-Teyr Terng Central Weather Bureau, Taipei, Taiwan

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Jen-Her Chen Central Weather Bureau, Taipei, Taiwan

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Abstract

This paper introduces a relocation scheme for tropical cyclone (TC) initialization in the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting (ARW-WRF) model and demonstrates its application to 70 forecasts of Typhoons Sinlaku (2008), Jangmi (2008), and Linfa (2009) for which Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau (CWB) issued typhoon warnings. An efficient and dynamically consistent TC vortex relocation scheme for the WRF terrain-following mass coordinate has been developed to improve the first guess of the TC analysis, and hence improves the tropical cyclone initialization. The vortex relocation scheme separates the first-guess atmospheric flow into a TC circulation and environmental flow, relocates the TC circulation to its observed location, and adds the relocated TC circulation back to the environmental flow to obtain the updated first guess with a correct TC position. Analysis of these typhoon cases indicates that the relocation procedure moves the typhoon circulation to the observed typhoon position without generating discontinuities or sharp gradients in the first guess.

Numerical experiments with and without the vortex relocation procedure for Typhoons Sinlaku, Jangmi, and Linfa forecasts show that about 67% of the first-guess fields need a vortex relocation to correct typhoon position errors while eliminates the topographical effect. As the vortex relocation effectively removes the typhoon position errors in the analysis, the simulated typhoon tracks are considerably improved for all forecast times, especially in the early periods as large adjustments appeared without the vortex relocation. Comparison of the horizontal and vertical vortex structures shows that large errors in the first-guess fields due to an incorrect typhoon position are eliminated by the vortex relocation scheme and that the analyzed typhoon circulation is stronger and more symmetric without distortions, and better agrees with observations. The result suggests that the main difficulty of objective analysis methods [e.g., three-dimensional variational data assimilation (3DVAR)], in TC analysis comes from poor first-guess fields with incorrect TC positions rather than not enough model resolution or observations. In addition, by computing the eccentricity and correlation of the axes of the initial typhoon circulation, the distorted typhoon circulation caused by the position error without the vortex relocation scheme is demonstrated to be responsible for larger track errors. Therefore, by eliminating the typhoon position error in the first guess that avoids a distorted initial typhoon circulation, the vortex relocation scheme is able to improve the ARW-WRF typhoon initialization and forecasts particularly when using data assimilation update cycling.

Corresponding author address: Ling-Feng Hsiao, Central Weather Bureau, No. 64, Gongyuan Road, 10048 Taipei, Taiwan. Email: lfhsiao@rdc.cwb.gov.tw

Abstract

This paper introduces a relocation scheme for tropical cyclone (TC) initialization in the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting (ARW-WRF) model and demonstrates its application to 70 forecasts of Typhoons Sinlaku (2008), Jangmi (2008), and Linfa (2009) for which Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau (CWB) issued typhoon warnings. An efficient and dynamically consistent TC vortex relocation scheme for the WRF terrain-following mass coordinate has been developed to improve the first guess of the TC analysis, and hence improves the tropical cyclone initialization. The vortex relocation scheme separates the first-guess atmospheric flow into a TC circulation and environmental flow, relocates the TC circulation to its observed location, and adds the relocated TC circulation back to the environmental flow to obtain the updated first guess with a correct TC position. Analysis of these typhoon cases indicates that the relocation procedure moves the typhoon circulation to the observed typhoon position without generating discontinuities or sharp gradients in the first guess.

Numerical experiments with and without the vortex relocation procedure for Typhoons Sinlaku, Jangmi, and Linfa forecasts show that about 67% of the first-guess fields need a vortex relocation to correct typhoon position errors while eliminates the topographical effect. As the vortex relocation effectively removes the typhoon position errors in the analysis, the simulated typhoon tracks are considerably improved for all forecast times, especially in the early periods as large adjustments appeared without the vortex relocation. Comparison of the horizontal and vertical vortex structures shows that large errors in the first-guess fields due to an incorrect typhoon position are eliminated by the vortex relocation scheme and that the analyzed typhoon circulation is stronger and more symmetric without distortions, and better agrees with observations. The result suggests that the main difficulty of objective analysis methods [e.g., three-dimensional variational data assimilation (3DVAR)], in TC analysis comes from poor first-guess fields with incorrect TC positions rather than not enough model resolution or observations. In addition, by computing the eccentricity and correlation of the axes of the initial typhoon circulation, the distorted typhoon circulation caused by the position error without the vortex relocation scheme is demonstrated to be responsible for larger track errors. Therefore, by eliminating the typhoon position error in the first guess that avoids a distorted initial typhoon circulation, the vortex relocation scheme is able to improve the ARW-WRF typhoon initialization and forecasts particularly when using data assimilation update cycling.

Corresponding author address: Ling-Feng Hsiao, Central Weather Bureau, No. 64, Gongyuan Road, 10048 Taipei, Taiwan. Email: lfhsiao@rdc.cwb.gov.tw

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