Observation impact study of an Arctic cyclone associated with a Tropopause Polar Vortex (TPV)-induced Rossby wave initiation event

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  • 1 School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
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Abstract

A case study characterized by Arctic cyclogenesis following a tropopause polar vortex (TPV)-induced Rossby wave initiation event is used to better understand how well existing observations constrain analyses of processes influencing Arctic cyclone predictive skill. Complementary techniques of observation system experiments (OSE) and ensemble sensitivity analysis (ESA) are used to investigate the impacts of existing observation networks on predictions for this case. The ESA reveals that the large-scale Rossby wave structure correlated with both Arctic cyclone track and amplitude errors. The ensemble analyses of mid-level moisture in the warm conveyor belt region were correlated with forecast cyclone amplitude, but this feature was poorly sampled in existing observations. There is also a sensitivity of Arctic cyclone forecast amplitude error to low level temperature in the air mass of the cyclogenesis region at analysis time and a sensitivity of Arctic cyclone forecast track error to low level temperature in the region of an Arctic cold front and a coastal front at the analysis time. The OSEs for this case reveal that Arctic cyclone track error is more sensitive to denial of existing observations than amplitude error. While lower level (below 700 hPa) observations had greatest impact on the surface cyclone during the early stages, upper level (above 500 hPa) observations had the dominant impact during its later evolution. Denying temperature from just three well-placed sondes substantially increased track error by degrading analyses of the TPV amplitude and its interaction with the waveguide and developing Rossby wave packet. These results are encouraging for further Arctic cyclone forecast improvements through addition of even a small number of well-placed observations.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Aaron Johnson, University of Oklahoma, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., Norman, OK, 73072, ajohns14@ou.edu

Abstract

A case study characterized by Arctic cyclogenesis following a tropopause polar vortex (TPV)-induced Rossby wave initiation event is used to better understand how well existing observations constrain analyses of processes influencing Arctic cyclone predictive skill. Complementary techniques of observation system experiments (OSE) and ensemble sensitivity analysis (ESA) are used to investigate the impacts of existing observation networks on predictions for this case. The ESA reveals that the large-scale Rossby wave structure correlated with both Arctic cyclone track and amplitude errors. The ensemble analyses of mid-level moisture in the warm conveyor belt region were correlated with forecast cyclone amplitude, but this feature was poorly sampled in existing observations. There is also a sensitivity of Arctic cyclone forecast amplitude error to low level temperature in the air mass of the cyclogenesis region at analysis time and a sensitivity of Arctic cyclone forecast track error to low level temperature in the region of an Arctic cold front and a coastal front at the analysis time. The OSEs for this case reveal that Arctic cyclone track error is more sensitive to denial of existing observations than amplitude error. While lower level (below 700 hPa) observations had greatest impact on the surface cyclone during the early stages, upper level (above 500 hPa) observations had the dominant impact during its later evolution. Denying temperature from just three well-placed sondes substantially increased track error by degrading analyses of the TPV amplitude and its interaction with the waveguide and developing Rossby wave packet. These results are encouraging for further Arctic cyclone forecast improvements through addition of even a small number of well-placed observations.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Aaron Johnson, University of Oklahoma, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., Norman, OK, 73072, ajohns14@ou.edu
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