The Prediction of Supercooled Large Drops by a Microphysics and a Machine Learning Model for the ICICLE Field Campaign

Anders A. Jensen aNational Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Courtney Weeks aNational Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Mei Xu aNational Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Scott Landolt aNational Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Alexei Korolev bEnvironment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Mengistu Wolde cNational Research Council Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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Stephanie DiVito dFederal Aviation Administration Technical Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey

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Abstract

The prediction of supercooled large drops (SLD) from the Thompson–Eidhammer (TE) microphysics scheme—run as part of the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model—is evaluated with observations from the In-Cloud Icing and Large drop Experiment (ICICLE) field campaign. These observations are also used to train a random forest machine learning (ML) model, which is then used to predict SLD from several variables derived from HRRR model output. Results provide insight on the limitations and benefits of each model. Generally, the ML model results in an increase in the probability of detection (POD) and false alarm rate (FAR) of SLD compared to prediction from TE microphysics. Additionally, the POD of SLD increases with increasing forecast lead time for both models, likely since clouds and precipitation have more time to develop as forecast length increases. Since SLD take time to develop in TE microphysics and may be poorly represented in short-term (<3 h) forecasts, the ML model can provide improved short-term guidance on supercooled large-drop icing conditions. Results also show that TE microphysics predicts a frequency of SLD in cold (<−10°C) or high ice water content (IWC) environments that is too low compared to observations, whereas the ML model better captures the relative frequency of SLD in these environments.

© 2023 American Meteorological Society. This published article is licensed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Scott Landolt, landolt@ucar.edu

Abstract

The prediction of supercooled large drops (SLD) from the Thompson–Eidhammer (TE) microphysics scheme—run as part of the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model—is evaluated with observations from the In-Cloud Icing and Large drop Experiment (ICICLE) field campaign. These observations are also used to train a random forest machine learning (ML) model, which is then used to predict SLD from several variables derived from HRRR model output. Results provide insight on the limitations and benefits of each model. Generally, the ML model results in an increase in the probability of detection (POD) and false alarm rate (FAR) of SLD compared to prediction from TE microphysics. Additionally, the POD of SLD increases with increasing forecast lead time for both models, likely since clouds and precipitation have more time to develop as forecast length increases. Since SLD take time to develop in TE microphysics and may be poorly represented in short-term (<3 h) forecasts, the ML model can provide improved short-term guidance on supercooled large-drop icing conditions. Results also show that TE microphysics predicts a frequency of SLD in cold (<−10°C) or high ice water content (IWC) environments that is too low compared to observations, whereas the ML model better captures the relative frequency of SLD in these environments.

© 2023 American Meteorological Society. This published article is licensed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Scott Landolt, landolt@ucar.edu
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