Ensemble Forecast of a Typhoon Flood Event

Brian P. Mackey Department of Meteorology, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

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T. N. Krishnamurti Department of Meteorology, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

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Abstract

A high-resolution nested regional spectral model and an ensemble prediction system are combined to forecast the track, intensity, and flooding precipitation arising from Typhoon Winnie of August 1997, which eventually reached supertyphoon status. The prediction of floods is operationally challenging since rainfall distributions can have a high degree of spatial and temporal variability. Rare event probabilities, however, can be estimated more readily via ensemble forecasting. This technique is used to evaluate a typhoon flood event in which rainfall amounts greater than 200 mm led to landslides and major flooding of crops. Seven-member ensembles were generated using an EOF-based technique. An experiment was conducted with a regional model resolution of 0.5° latitude. A Mercator transform grid with a grid mesh size of approximately 55 km in the east–west and 48 km in the north–south was employed. The results indicated very accurate track and intensity forecasts for both the control and ensemble mean. Track position errors remained below 150 km through 72 h, while intensity errors were approximately 5 m s−1 at landfall. Qualitatively, the overall 5-day precipitation patterns appeared realistic and compared favorably with the observed data, while, quantitatively, the correlation coefficient was near 0.6. For stations near and north of where Winnie made landfall, ensemble-based predictions performed well. While the ensemble mean often underestimated the heaviest rainfall totals by approximately 25%–50%, the maximum values within the ensemble spread either exceeded or came within 10%–15% of the station totals. Finally, in a related experiment the horizontal resolution was increased to 0.25° latitude. Even though more precipitation was produced, especially in northeastern China, the ensemble mean was similar to the 0.5° latitude simulation.

Corresponding author address: Brian P. Mackey, Department of Meteorology, The Florida State University, 404 Love Building, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4520. Email: mackey@met.fsu.edu

Abstract

A high-resolution nested regional spectral model and an ensemble prediction system are combined to forecast the track, intensity, and flooding precipitation arising from Typhoon Winnie of August 1997, which eventually reached supertyphoon status. The prediction of floods is operationally challenging since rainfall distributions can have a high degree of spatial and temporal variability. Rare event probabilities, however, can be estimated more readily via ensemble forecasting. This technique is used to evaluate a typhoon flood event in which rainfall amounts greater than 200 mm led to landslides and major flooding of crops. Seven-member ensembles were generated using an EOF-based technique. An experiment was conducted with a regional model resolution of 0.5° latitude. A Mercator transform grid with a grid mesh size of approximately 55 km in the east–west and 48 km in the north–south was employed. The results indicated very accurate track and intensity forecasts for both the control and ensemble mean. Track position errors remained below 150 km through 72 h, while intensity errors were approximately 5 m s−1 at landfall. Qualitatively, the overall 5-day precipitation patterns appeared realistic and compared favorably with the observed data, while, quantitatively, the correlation coefficient was near 0.6. For stations near and north of where Winnie made landfall, ensemble-based predictions performed well. While the ensemble mean often underestimated the heaviest rainfall totals by approximately 25%–50%, the maximum values within the ensemble spread either exceeded or came within 10%–15% of the station totals. Finally, in a related experiment the horizontal resolution was increased to 0.25° latitude. Even though more precipitation was produced, especially in northeastern China, the ensemble mean was similar to the 0.5° latitude simulation.

Corresponding author address: Brian P. Mackey, Department of Meteorology, The Florida State University, 404 Love Building, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4520. Email: mackey@met.fsu.edu

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