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Simulation of Polarimetric Radar Variables from 2013 CAPS Spring Experiment Storm-Scale Ensemble Forecasts and Evaluation of Microphysics Schemes

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  • 1 Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms, and Advanced Radar Research Center, and School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 2 Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms, and School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 3 Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 4 Advanced Radar Research Center, and School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 5 Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms, Norman, Oklahoma
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Abstract

Polarimetric radar variables are simulated from members of the 2013 Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms (CAPS) Storm-Scale Ensemble Forecasts (SSEF) with varying microphysics (MP) schemes and compared with observations. The polarimetric variables provide information on hydrometeor types and particle size distributions (PSDs), neither of which can be obtained through reflectivity (Z) alone. The polarimetric radar simulator pays close attention to how each MP scheme [including single- (SM) and double-moment (DM) schemes] treats hydrometeor types and PSDs. The recent dual-polarization upgrade to the entire WSR-88D network provides nationwide polarimetric observations, allowing for direct evaluation of the simulated polarimetric variables.

Simulations for a mesoscale convective system (MCS) and supercell cases are examined. Five different MP schemes—Thompson, DM Milbrandt and Yau (MY), DM Morrison, WRF DM 6-category (WDM6), and WRF SM 6-category (WSM6)—are used in the ensemble forecasts. Forecasts using the partially DM Thompson and fully DM MY and Morrison schemes better replicate the MCS structure and stratiform precipitation coverage, as well as supercell structure compared to WDM6 and WSM6. Forecasts using the MY and Morrison schemes better replicate observed polarimetric signatures associated with size sorting than those using the Thompson, WDM6, and WSM6 schemes, in which such signatures are either absent or occur at abnormal locations. Several biases are suggested in these schemes, including too much wet graupel in MY, Morrison, and WDM6; a small raindrop bias in WDM6 and WSM6; and the underforecast of liquid water content in regions of pure rain for all schemes.

Corresponding author address: Ming Xue, Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms, University of Oklahoma, 120 David Boren Blvd., Norman, OK 73072. E-mail: mxue@ou.edu

Abstract

Polarimetric radar variables are simulated from members of the 2013 Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms (CAPS) Storm-Scale Ensemble Forecasts (SSEF) with varying microphysics (MP) schemes and compared with observations. The polarimetric variables provide information on hydrometeor types and particle size distributions (PSDs), neither of which can be obtained through reflectivity (Z) alone. The polarimetric radar simulator pays close attention to how each MP scheme [including single- (SM) and double-moment (DM) schemes] treats hydrometeor types and PSDs. The recent dual-polarization upgrade to the entire WSR-88D network provides nationwide polarimetric observations, allowing for direct evaluation of the simulated polarimetric variables.

Simulations for a mesoscale convective system (MCS) and supercell cases are examined. Five different MP schemes—Thompson, DM Milbrandt and Yau (MY), DM Morrison, WRF DM 6-category (WDM6), and WRF SM 6-category (WSM6)—are used in the ensemble forecasts. Forecasts using the partially DM Thompson and fully DM MY and Morrison schemes better replicate the MCS structure and stratiform precipitation coverage, as well as supercell structure compared to WDM6 and WSM6. Forecasts using the MY and Morrison schemes better replicate observed polarimetric signatures associated with size sorting than those using the Thompson, WDM6, and WSM6 schemes, in which such signatures are either absent or occur at abnormal locations. Several biases are suggested in these schemes, including too much wet graupel in MY, Morrison, and WDM6; a small raindrop bias in WDM6 and WSM6; and the underforecast of liquid water content in regions of pure rain for all schemes.

Corresponding author address: Ming Xue, Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms, University of Oklahoma, 120 David Boren Blvd., Norman, OK 73072. E-mail: mxue@ou.edu
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