The Impact on Simulated Bow Echoes of Changing Grid Spacing from 3 km to 1 km in the WRF Model

Dylan J. Dodson aDepartment of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

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William A. Gallus Jr. aDepartment of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

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https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7024-8341
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Abstract

Ten bow echo events were simulated using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model with 3- and 1-km horizontal grid spacing with both the Morrison and Thompson microphysics schemes to determine the impact of refined grid spacing on this often poorly simulated mode of convection. Simulated and observed composite reflectivities were used to classify convective mode. Skill scores were computed to quantify model performance at predicting all modes, and a new bow echo score was created to evaluate specifically the accuracy of bow echo forecasts. The full morphology score for runs using the Thompson scheme was noticeably improved by refined grid spacing, while the skill of Morrison runs did not change appreciably. However, bow echo scores for runs using both schemes improved when grid spacing was refined, with Thompson runs improving most significantly. Additionally, near storm environments were analyzed to understand why the simulated bow echoes changed as grid spacing was changed. A relationship existed between bow echo production and cold pool strength, as well as with the magnitude of microphysical cooling rates. More numerous updrafts were present in 1-km runs, leading to longer intense lines of convection which were more likely to evolve into longer-lived bow echoes in more cases. Large-scale features, such as a low-level jet orientation more perpendicular to the convective line and surface boundaries, often had to be present for bow echoes to occur in the 3-km runs.

© 2024 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: William A. Gallus, wgallus@iastate.edu

Abstract

Ten bow echo events were simulated using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model with 3- and 1-km horizontal grid spacing with both the Morrison and Thompson microphysics schemes to determine the impact of refined grid spacing on this often poorly simulated mode of convection. Simulated and observed composite reflectivities were used to classify convective mode. Skill scores were computed to quantify model performance at predicting all modes, and a new bow echo score was created to evaluate specifically the accuracy of bow echo forecasts. The full morphology score for runs using the Thompson scheme was noticeably improved by refined grid spacing, while the skill of Morrison runs did not change appreciably. However, bow echo scores for runs using both schemes improved when grid spacing was refined, with Thompson runs improving most significantly. Additionally, near storm environments were analyzed to understand why the simulated bow echoes changed as grid spacing was changed. A relationship existed between bow echo production and cold pool strength, as well as with the magnitude of microphysical cooling rates. More numerous updrafts were present in 1-km runs, leading to longer intense lines of convection which were more likely to evolve into longer-lived bow echoes in more cases. Large-scale features, such as a low-level jet orientation more perpendicular to the convective line and surface boundaries, often had to be present for bow echoes to occur in the 3-km runs.

© 2024 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: William A. Gallus, wgallus@iastate.edu
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