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Large-Sample Application of Radar Reflectivity Object-Based Verification to Evaluate HRRR Warm-Season Forecasts

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  • 1 Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 2 NOAA/Global Systems Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

The Method of Object-based Diagnostic Evaluation (MODE) is used to perform an object-based verification of approximately 1400 forecasts of composite reflectivity from the operational HRRR during April–September 2019. In this study, MODE is configured to prioritize deep, moist convective storm cells typical of those that produce severe weather across the central and eastern United States during the warm season. In particular, attributes related to distance and size are given the greatest attribute weights for computing interest in MODE. HRRR tends to overforecast all objects, but substantially overforecasts both small objects at low-reflectivity thresholds and large objects at high-reflectivity thresholds. HRRR tends to either underforecast objects in the southern and central plains or has a correct frequency bias there, whereas it overforecasts objects across the southern and eastern United States. Attribute comparisons reveal the inability of the HRRR to fully resolve convective-scale features and the impact of data assimilation and loss of skill during the initial hours of the forecasts. Scalar metrics are defined and computed based on MODE output, chiefly relying on the interest value. The object-based threat score (OTS), in particular, reveals similar performance of HRRR forecasts as does the Heidke skill score, but with differing magnitudes, suggesting value in adopting an object-based approach to forecast verification. The typical distance between centroids of objects is also analyzed and shows gradual degradation with increasing forecast length.

Significance Statement

Improving weather forecast models requires determining where the model does well and where it does not. Gridpoint-based methods for assessing model forecasts have known shortfalls when applied to high-resolution models that can forecast individual thunderstorms. We present an object-based verification procedure that focuses on identifying actual meteorological features such as thunderstorms instead of gridpoint-by-gridpoint comparison between forecasts and verifying truth. This article reveals some of the information ascertained from this assessment and illustrates the enhancement of information obtained from object-based verification to gridpoint-based assessment.

For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Jeffrey D. Duda, jeffduda319@gmail.com

Abstract

The Method of Object-based Diagnostic Evaluation (MODE) is used to perform an object-based verification of approximately 1400 forecasts of composite reflectivity from the operational HRRR during April–September 2019. In this study, MODE is configured to prioritize deep, moist convective storm cells typical of those that produce severe weather across the central and eastern United States during the warm season. In particular, attributes related to distance and size are given the greatest attribute weights for computing interest in MODE. HRRR tends to overforecast all objects, but substantially overforecasts both small objects at low-reflectivity thresholds and large objects at high-reflectivity thresholds. HRRR tends to either underforecast objects in the southern and central plains or has a correct frequency bias there, whereas it overforecasts objects across the southern and eastern United States. Attribute comparisons reveal the inability of the HRRR to fully resolve convective-scale features and the impact of data assimilation and loss of skill during the initial hours of the forecasts. Scalar metrics are defined and computed based on MODE output, chiefly relying on the interest value. The object-based threat score (OTS), in particular, reveals similar performance of HRRR forecasts as does the Heidke skill score, but with differing magnitudes, suggesting value in adopting an object-based approach to forecast verification. The typical distance between centroids of objects is also analyzed and shows gradual degradation with increasing forecast length.

Significance Statement

Improving weather forecast models requires determining where the model does well and where it does not. Gridpoint-based methods for assessing model forecasts have known shortfalls when applied to high-resolution models that can forecast individual thunderstorms. We present an object-based verification procedure that focuses on identifying actual meteorological features such as thunderstorms instead of gridpoint-by-gridpoint comparison between forecasts and verifying truth. This article reveals some of the information ascertained from this assessment and illustrates the enhancement of information obtained from object-based verification to gridpoint-based assessment.

For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Jeffrey D. Duda, jeffduda319@gmail.com
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