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Clifford Mass
,
David Ovens
,
John Christy
, and
Robert Conrick

Abstract

An unprecedented heat wave occurred over the Pacific Northwest and southwest Canada on 25–30 June 2021, resulting in all-time temperature records that greatly exceeded previous record maximum temperatures. The impacts were substantial, including several hundred deaths, thousands of hospitalizations, a major wildfire in Lytton, British Columbia, Canada, and severe damage to regional vegetation. Several factors came together to produce this extreme event: a record-breaking midtropospheric ridge over British Columbia in the optimal location, record-breaking midtropospheric temperatures, strong subsidence in the lower atmosphere, low-level easterly flow that produced downslope warming on regional terrain and the removal of cooler marine air, an approaching low-level trough that enhanced downslope flow, the occurrence at a time of maximum insolation, and drier-than-normal soil moisture. It is shown that all-time-record temperatures have not become more frequent and that annual high temperatures only increased at the rate of baseline global warming. Although anthropogenic warming may have contributed as much as 1°C to the event, there is little evidence of further amplification from increasing greenhouse gases. Weather forecasts were excellent for this event, with highly accurate predictions of the extreme temperatures.

Significance Statement

This paper describes the atmospheric evolution that produced an extreme heat wave over the Pacific Northwest during June 2021 and puts this event into historical perspective.

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Eun-Tae Kim
,
Jung-Hoon Kim
,
Soo-Hyun Kim
, and
Cyril Morcrette

Abstract

In this study, we developed and evaluated the Korean Forecast Icing Potential (K-FIP), an in-flight icing forecast system for the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) based on the Simplified Forecast Icing Potential (SFIP) algorithm. The SFIP is an algorithm used to post-process numerical weather prediction (NWP) model forecasts for predicting potential areas of icing based on the fuzzy logic formulations of four membership functions: temperature, relative humidity, vertical velocity, and cloud liquid water content. In this study, we optimized the original version of the SFIP for the global NWP model of the KMA through three important updates using 34 months of pilot reports for icing: using total cloud condensates, reconstructing membership functions, and determining the best weight combination for input variables. The use of all cloud condensates and the reconstruction of these membership functions resulted in a significant improvement in the algorithm compared with the original. The weight combinations for the KMA's global model were determined based on the performance scores. While several sets of weights performed equally well, this process identified the most effective weight combination for the KMA model, which is referred to as the K-FIP. The K-FIP demonstrated the ability to successfully predict icing over the Korean Peninsula using observations made by research aircraft from the National Institute of Meteorological Sciences of the KMA. Eventually, the K-FIP icing forecasts will provide better forecasts of icing potentials for safe and efficient aviation operations in South Korea.

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Metodija M. Shapkalijevski

Abstract

The increased social need for more precise and reliable weather forecasts, especially when focusing on extreme weather events, pushes forward research and development in meteorology toward novel numerical weather prediction (NWP) systems that can provide simulations that resolve atmospheric processes on hectometric scales on demand. Such high-resolution NWP systems require a more detailed representation of the nonresolved processes, i.e., usage of scale-aware schemes for convection and three-dimensional turbulence (and radiation), which would additionally increase the computation needs. Therefore, developing and applying comprehensive, reliable, and computationally acceptable parameterizations in NWP systems is of urgent importance. All operationally used NWP systems are based on averaged Navier–Stokes equations, and thus require an approximation for the small-scale turbulent fluxes of momentum, energy, and matter in the system. The availability of high-fidelity data from turbulence experiments and direct numerical simulations has helped scientists in the past to construct and calibrate a range of turbulence closure approximations (from the relatively simple to more complex), some of which have been adopted and are in use in the current operational NWP systems. The significant development of learned-by-data (LBD) algorithms over the past decade (e.g., artificial intelligence) motivates engineers and researchers in fluid dynamics to explore alternatives for modeling turbulence by directly using turbulence data to quantify and reduce model uncertainties systematically. This review elaborates on the LBD approaches and their use in NWP currently, and also searches for novel data-informed turbulence models that can potentially be used and applied in NWP. Based on this literature analysis, the challenges and perspectives to do so are discussed.

Open access
Free access
Burkely T. Gallo
,
Adam J. Clark
,
Israel Jirak
,
David Imy
,
Brett Roberts
,
Jacob Vancil
,
Kent Knopfmeier
, and
Patrick Burke

Abstract

During the 2021 Spring Forecasting Experiment (SFE), the usefulness of the experimental Warn-on-Forecast System (WoFS) ensemble guidance was tested with the issuance of short-term probabilistic hazard forecasts. One group of participants used the WoFS guidance, while another group did not. Individual forecasts issued by two NWS participants in each group were evaluated alongside a consensus forecast from the remaining participants. Participant forecasts of tornadoes, hail, and wind at lead times of ∼2–3 h and valid 2200–2300 UTC, 2300–0000 UTC, and 0000–0100 UTC were evaluated subjectively during the SFE by participants the day after issuance, and objectively after the SFE concluded. These forecasts exist between the watch and the warning time frame, where WoFS is anticipated to be particularly impactful.

The hourly probabilistic forecasts were skillful according to objective metrics like the Fractions Skill Score. While the tornado forecasts were more reliable than the other hazards, there was no clear indication of any one hazard scoring highest across all metrics. WoFS availability improved the hourly probabilistic forecasts as measured by the subjective ratings and several objective metrics, including increased POD and decreased FAR at high probability thresholds. Generally, expert forecasts performed better than consensus forecasts, though expert forecasts over-forecasted. Finally, this work explored the appropriate construction of practically perfect fields used during subjective verification, which participants frequently found to be too small and precise. Using a Gaussian smoother with σ=70 km is recommended to create hourly practically perfect fields in future experiments.

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Quan Nguyen
and
Chanh Kieu

Abstract

Exploring new techniques to improve the prediction of tropical cyclone (TC) formation is essential for operational practice. Using convolutional neural networks, this study shows that deep learning can provide a promising capability for predicting TC formation from a given set of large-scale environments at certain forecast lead times. Specifically, two common deep-learning architectures including the residual net (ResNet) and UNet are used to examine TC formation in the Pacific Ocean. With a set of large-scale environments extracted from the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis during 2008–21 as input and the TC labels obtained from the best track data, we show that both ResNet and UNet reach their maximum forecast skill at the 12–18-h forecast lead time. Moreover, both architectures perform best when using a large domain covering most of the Pacific Ocean for input data, as compared to a smaller subdomain in the western Pacific. Given its ability to provide additional information about TC formation location, UNet performs generally worse than ResNet across the accuracy metrics. The deep learning approach in this study presents an alternative way to predict TC formation beyond the traditional vortex-tracking methods in the current numerical weather prediction.

Significance Statement

This study presents a new approach for predicting tropical cyclone (TC) formation based on deep learning (DL). Using two common DL architectures in visualization research and a set of large-scale environments in the Pacific Ocean extracted from the reanalysis data, we show that DL has an optimal capability of predicting TC formation at the 12–18-h lead time. Examining the DL performance for different domain sizes shows that the use of a large domain size for input data can help capture some far-field information needed for predicting TCG. The DL approach in this study demonstrates an alternative way to predict or detect TC formation beyond the traditional vortex-tracking methods used in the current numerical weather prediction.

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David S. Richardson
,
Hannah L. Cloke
,
John A. Methven
, and
Florian Pappenberger

Abstract

We investigate the run-to-run consistency (jumpiness) of ensemble forecasts of tropical cyclone tracks from three global centers: ECMWF, the Met Office, and NCEP. We use a divergence function to quantify the change in cross-track position between consecutive ensemble forecasts initialized at 12-h intervals. Results for the 2019–21 North Atlantic hurricane season show that the jumpiness varied substantially between cases and centers, with no common cause across the different ensemble systems. Recent upgrades to the Met Office and NCEP ensembles reduced their overall jumpiness to match that of the ECMWF ensemble. The average divergence over the set of cases provides an objective measure of the expected change in cross-track position from one forecast to the next. For example, a user should expect on average that the ensemble mean position will change by around 80–90 km in the cross-track direction between a forecast for 120 h ahead and the updated forecast made 12 h later for the same valid time. This quantitative information can support users’ decision-making, for example, in deciding whether to act now or wait for the next forecast. We did not find any link between jumpiness and skill, indicating that users should not rely on the consistency between successive forecasts as a measure of confidence. Instead, we suggest that users should use ensemble spread and probabilistic information to assess forecast uncertainty, and consider multimodel combinations to reduce the effects of jumpiness.

Significance Statement

Forecasting the tracks of tropical cyclones is essential to mitigate their impacts on society. Numerical weather prediction models provide valuable guidance, but occasionally there is a large jump in the predicted track from one run to the next. This jumpiness complicates the creation and communication of consistent forecast advisories and early warnings. In this work we aim to better understand forecast jumpiness and we provide practical information to forecasters to help them better use the model guidance. We show that the jumpiest cases are different for different modeling centers, that recent model upgrades have reduced forecast jumpiness, and that there is not a strong link between jumpiness and forecast skill.

Open access
Trevor A. Campbell
,
Gary M. Lackmann
,
Maria J. Molina
, and
Matthew D. Parker

Abstract

Severe convection occurring in high-shear, low-CAPE (HSLC) environments is a common cool-season threat in the southeastern United States. Previous studies of HSLC convection document the increased operational challenges that these environments present compared to their high-CAPE counterparts, corresponding to higher false-alarm ratios and lower probability of detection for severe watches and warnings. These environments can exhibit rapid destabilization in the hours prior to convection, sometimes associated with the release of potential instability. Here, we use self-organizing maps (SOMs) to objectively identify environmental patterns accompanying HSLC cool-season severe events and associate them with variations in severe weather frequency and distribution. Large-scale patterns exhibit modest variation within the HSLC subclass, featuring strong surface cyclones accompanied by vigorous upper-tropospheric troughs and northward-extending regions of instability, consistent with prior studies. In most patterns, severe weather occurs immediately ahead of a cold front. Other convective ingredients, such as lower-tropospheric vertical wind shear, near-surface equivalent potential temperature (θe ) advection, and the release of potential instability, varied more significantly across patterns. No single variable used to train SOMs consistently demonstrated differences in the distribution of severe weather occurrence across patterns. Comparison of SOMs based on upper and lower quartiles of severe occurrence demonstrated that the release of potential instability was most consistently associated with higher-impact events in comparison to other convective ingredients. Overall, we find that previously developed HSLC composite parameters reasonably identify high-impact HSLC events.

Significance Statement

Even when atmospheric instability is not optimal for severe convective storms, in some situations they can still occur, presenting increased challenges to forecasters. These marginal environments may occur at night or during the cool season, when people are less attuned to severe weather threats. Here, we use a sorting algorithm to classify different weather patterns accompanying such storms, and we distinguish which specific patterns and weather system features are most strongly associated with severe storms. Our goals are to increase situational awareness for forecasters and to improve understanding of the processes leading to severe convection in marginal environments.

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Sarah M. Griffin
,
Anthony Wimmers
, and
Christopher S. Velden

Abstract

This study details a two-method, machine learning approach to predict current and short-term intensity change in global tropical cyclones (TCs), “D-MINT” and “D-PRINT.” D-MINT and D-PRINT use infrared imagery and environmental scalar predictors, while D-MINT also employs microwave imagery. Results show that current TC intensity estimates from D-MINT and D-PRINT are more skillful than three established intensity estimation methods routinely used by operational forecasters for North Atlantic and eastern and western North Pacific TCs. Short-term intensity predictions are validated against five operational deterministic guidances at 6-, 12-, 18-, and 24-h lead times. D-MINT and D-PRINT are less skillful than NHC and consensus TC intensity predictions in North Atlantic and eastern North Pacific TCs, but are more skillful than the other guidances for at least half of the lead times. In western North Pacific, north Indian Ocean, and Southern Hemisphere TCs, D-MINT is more skillful than the JTWC and other individual TC intensity forecasts for over half of the lead times. When probabilistically predicting TC rapid intensification (RI), D-MINT is more skillful in North Atlantic and western North Pacific TCs than three operationally used RI guidances, but less skillful for yes–no RI forecasts. In addition, this work demonstrates the importance of microwave imagery, as D-MINT is more skillful than D-PRINT. Since D-MINT and D-PRINT are convolutional neural network models interrogating two-dimensional structures within TC satellite imagery, this study also demonstrates that those features can yield better short-term predictions than existing scalar statistics of satellite imagery in operational models. Finally, a diagnostics tool is revealed to aid the attribution of the D-MINT/D-PRINT intensity predictions.

Significance Statement

This study develops a method to predict current and short-term forecasts of tropical cyclone (TC) intensity using artificial intelligence. The resultant models use a convolutional neural network (CNN) that can identify two-dimensional features in satellite imagery that are indicative of TC intensity and future intensity change. The performance results indicate that in several TC basins, the CNN approach is generally more skillful than alternative satellite-based estimates of TC intensity as well as operational short-term forecasts of deterministic intensity change and of similar skill to probabilistic rapid intensification forecasts.

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Joseph A. Grim
,
James O. Pinto
, and
David C. Dowell

Abstract

This study provides a comparison of the operational HRRR version 4 and its eventual successor, the experimental Rapid Refresh Forecast System (RRFS) model (summer 2022 version), at predicting the evolution of convective storm characteristics during widespread convective events that occurred primarily over the eastern United States during summer 2022. In total 32 widespread convective events were selected using observations from the MRMS composite reflectivity, which includes an equal number of MCSs, quasi-linear convective systems (QLCSs), clusters, and cellular convection. Each storm system was assessed on four primary characteristics: total storm area, total storm count, storm area ratio (an indicator of mean storm size), and storm size distributions. It was found that the HRRR predictions of total storm area were comparable to MRMS, while the RRFS overpredicted total storm area by 40%–60% depending on forecast lead time. Both models tended to underpredict storm counts particularly during the storm initiation and growth period. This bias in storm counts originates early in the model runs (forecast hour 1) and propagates through the simulation in both models indicating that both miss storm initiation events and/or merge individual storm objects too quickly. Thus, both models end up with mean storm sizes that are much larger than observed (RRFS more so than HRRR). Additional analyses revealed that the storm area and individual storm biases were largest for the clusters and cellular convective modes. These results can serve as a benchmark for assessing future versions of RRFS and will aid model users in interpreting forecast guidance.

Open access