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Examination of Convection-Allowing Configurations of the WRF Model for the Prediction of Severe Convective Weather: The SPC/NSSL Spring Program 2004

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  • 1 Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, and NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 2 NOAA/NWS/Storm Prediction Center, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 3 Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, and NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 4 NOAA/NWS/Storm Prediction Center, Norman, Oklahoma
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Abstract

Convection-allowing configurations of the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model were evaluated during the 2004 Storm Prediction Center–National Severe Storms Laboratory Spring Program in a simulated severe weather forecasting environment. The utility of the WRF forecasts was assessed in two different ways. First, WRF output was used in the preparation of daily experimental human forecasts for severe weather. These forecasts were compared with corresponding predictions made without access to WRF data to provide a measure of the impact of the experimental data on the human decision-making process. Second, WRF output was compared directly with output from current operational forecast models. Results indicate that human forecasts showed a small, but measurable, improvement when forecasters had access to the high-resolution WRF output and, in the mean, the WRF output received higher ratings than the operational Eta Model on subjective performance measures related to convective initiation, evolution, and mode. The results suggest that convection-allowing models have the potential to provide a value-added benefit to the traditional guidance package used by severe weather forecasters.

Corresponding author address: John S. Kain, NSSL, 1313 Halley Circle, Norman, OK 73069. Email: Jack.Kain@noaa.gov

Abstract

Convection-allowing configurations of the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model were evaluated during the 2004 Storm Prediction Center–National Severe Storms Laboratory Spring Program in a simulated severe weather forecasting environment. The utility of the WRF forecasts was assessed in two different ways. First, WRF output was used in the preparation of daily experimental human forecasts for severe weather. These forecasts were compared with corresponding predictions made without access to WRF data to provide a measure of the impact of the experimental data on the human decision-making process. Second, WRF output was compared directly with output from current operational forecast models. Results indicate that human forecasts showed a small, but measurable, improvement when forecasters had access to the high-resolution WRF output and, in the mean, the WRF output received higher ratings than the operational Eta Model on subjective performance measures related to convective initiation, evolution, and mode. The results suggest that convection-allowing models have the potential to provide a value-added benefit to the traditional guidance package used by severe weather forecasters.

Corresponding author address: John S. Kain, NSSL, 1313 Halley Circle, Norman, OK 73069. Email: Jack.Kain@noaa.gov

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