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Soo-Hyun Kim, Hye-Yeong Chun, Dan-Bi Lee, Jung-Hoon Kim, and Robert D. Sharman

Abstract

Based on a convective gravity wave drag parameterization scheme in a Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) model, previously proposed near-cloud turbulence (NCT) diagnostics for better detecting turbulence near convection are tested and evaluated by using global in situ flight data and outputs from operational global NWP model of the Korea Meteorological Administration for one year (from December 2016 to November 2017). For comparison, eleven widely used clear air turbulence (CAT) diagnostics currently used in operational NWP-based aviation turbulence forecasting systems are separately computed. For selected cases, NCT diagnostics predict more accurately localized turbulence events over convective regions with better intensity, which is clearly distinguished from the turbulence areas diagnosed by conventional CAT diagnostics that they mostly failed to forecast with broad areas and low magnitudes. Although overall performance of NCT diagnostics for whole one year is lower than conventional CAT diagnostics due to the fact that NCT diagnostics exclusively focus on the isolated NCT events, adding the NCT diagnostics to CAT diagnostics improves the performance of aviation turbulence forecasting. Especially in the summertime, performance in terms of an area under the curve (AUC) based on probability of detection statistics is the best (AUC = 0.837 with a 4% increase, compared to conventional CAT forecasts) when the mean of all CAT and NCT diagnostics is used, while performance in terms of root mean square error is the best when the maximum among combined CAT and single NCT diagnostic is used. This implies that including NCT diagnostics to currently used NWP-based aviation turbulence forecasting systems should be beneficial for safety of air travel.

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Laurel L. DeHaan, Andrew C. Martin, Rachel R. Weihs, Luca Delle Monache, and F. Martin Ralph

Abstract

Accurate forecasts of atmospheric rivers (ARs) provide advance warning of flood and landslide hazards, as well as greatly aid effective water management. It is therefore critical to evaluate the skill of AR forecasts in numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. A new verification framework is proposed leveraging freely available software and metrics previously used for different applications. Specifically, AR detection and statistics are computed for the first time using the Method for Object-based Diagnostic Evaluation (MODE). In addition, the measure of effectiveness (MoE) is introduced as a new metric for understanding AR forecast skill in terms of size and location. The MoE provides a quantitative measure of the position of an entire forecasted AR compared to observation, regardless of whether the AR is making landfall. In addition, the MoE can provide qualitative information about the evolution of a forecast by lead time with implications about the predictability of an AR. We analyze AR forecast verification and skill using 11 years of cold season forecasts from two NWP models, one global and one regional. Four different thresholds of integrated vapor transport (IVT) are used in the verification revealing differences in forecast skill based on the strength of an AR. In addition to MoE, AR forecast skill is also addressed in terms of intensity error, landfall position error, and contingency table metrics.

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Makenzie J. Krocak, Jinan N. Allan, Joseph T. Ripberger, Carol L. Silva, and Hank C. Jenkins-Smith

Abstract

Nocturnal tornadoes are challenging to forecast and even more challenging to communicate. Numerous studies have evaluated the forecasting challenges, but fewer have investigated when and where these events pose the greatest communication challenges. This study seeks to evaluate variation in confidence among US residents in receiving and responding to tornado warnings by hour-of-day. Survey experiment data comes from the Severe Weather and Society Survey, an annual survey of US adults. Results indicate that respondents are less confident about receiving warnings overnight, specifically in the early morning hours (12 AM to 4 AM local time). We then use the survey results to inform an analysis of hourly tornado climatology data. We evaluate where nocturnal tornadoes are most likely to occur during the time frame when residents are least confident in their ability to receive tornado warnings. Results show that the Southeast experiences the highest number of nocturnal tornadoes during the time period of lowest confidence, as well as the largest proportion of tornadoes in that time frame. Finally, we estimate and assess two multiple linear regression models to identify individual characteristics that may influence a respondent’s confidence in receiving a tornado between 12 AM and 4 AM. These results indicate that age, race, weather awareness, weather sources, and the proportion of nocturnal tornadoes in the local area relate to warning reception confidence. The results of this study should help inform policymakers and practitioners about the populations at greatest risk for challenges associated with nocturnal tornadoes. Discussion focuses on developing more effective communication strategies, particularly for diverse and vulnerable populations.

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YANSHUANG XIE, SHAOPING SHANG, JINQUAN CHEN, FENG ZHANG, ZHIGAN HE, GUOMEI WEI, JINYU WU, BENLU ZHU, and YINDONG ZENG

Abstract

Accurate storm surge forecasts provided rapidly could support timely decision-making with consideration of tropical cyclone (TC) forecasting error. This study developed a fast storm surge ensemble prediction method based on TC track probability forecasting and searching optimization of a numerical scenario database (SONSD). In a case study of the Fujian Province coast (China), a storm surge scenario database was established using numerical simulations generated by 93,150 hypothetical TCs. In a GIS-based visualization system, a single surge forecast representing 2562 distinct typhoon tracks and the occurrence probability of overflow of seawalls along the coast could be achieved in 1–2 min. Application to the cases of Typhoon Soudelor (2015) and Typhoon Maria (2018) demonstrated that the proposed method is feasible and effective. Storm surge calculated by SONSD had excellent agreement with numerical model results (i.e., mean MAE/RMSE: 7.1/10.7 cm, correlation coefficient: >0.9). Tide prediction also performed well with MAE/RMSE of 9.7/11.6 cm versus the harmonic tide, and MAE/RMSE of phase prediction for all high waters of 0.25/0.31 h versus observations. The predicted high-water level was satisfactory (MAE of 10.8 cm versus observations) when the forecasted and actual positions of the typhoon were close. When the forecasted typhoon position error was large, the ensemble surge prediction effectively reduced prediction error (i.e., the negative bias of −58.5 cm reduced to −5.2 cm versus observations), which helped avoid missed alert warnings. The proposed method could be applied in other regions to provide rapid and accurate decision-making support for government departments.

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Jörg Steinert, Patrick Tracksdorf, and Dirk Heizenreder

Abstract

The analysis and forecast of precipitation characteristics is a key task for national meteorological services for providing high quality weather forecasts and warnings. Beside the precipitation amount, the precipitation type is essential to describe and evaluate the recent, ongoing and future weather situations.

This paper introduces a new surface-based hybrid hydrometeor classification algorithm. The presented method combines polarimetric radar observations at radar beam height from the C-band dual-polarization weather radar network of the German Weather Service (DWD, Deutscher Wetterdienst) with corrected thermodynamical profiles of numerical weather prediction (NWP) model output and extrapolates the hydrometeor classes at radar beam height to a height of 2 m above ground level (AGL). The implemented technique parametrizes the microphysical processes in the lower troposphere based on the appropriate thermodynamical profile the hydrometeors have to pass along their way from the radar beam height to the surface. Due to errors in NWP output, the NWP vertical profiles of temperature and humidity are adjusted by using several types of surface stations with high spatial and temporal resolution.

Verification results show considerable improvements in the hydrometeor classification near the ground compared to the radar sweep height. After an additional positive in-house evaluation, the presented method is integrated into DWD’s operational environment. The topic of this paper is to describe the processing steps for the computation of the near-surface precipitation type. In addition, example cases and a verification study complement the explanations.

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Eva–Maria Walz, Marlon Maranan, Roderick van der Linden, Andreas H. Fink, and Peter Knippertz

Abstract

Current numerical weather prediction models show limited skill in predicting low-latitude precipitation. To aid future improvements, be it with better dynamical or statistical models, we propose a well-defined benchmark forecast. We use the arguably best currently high-resolution, gauge-calibrated, gridded precipitation product, the Integrated Multi-Satellite Retrievals for GPM (Global Precipitation Measurement) (IMERG) “final run” in a ± 15-day window around the date of interest to build an empirical climatological ensemble forecast. This window size is an optimal compromise between statistical robustness and flexibility to represent seasonal changes. We refer to this benchmark as Extended Probabilistic Climatology (EPC) and compute it on a 0.1°×0.1° grid for 40°S–40°N and the period 2001–2019. In order to reduce and standardize information, a mixed Bernoulli-Gamma distribution is fitted to the empirical EPC, which hardly affects predictive performance. The EPC is then compared to 1-day ensemble predictions from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) using standard verification scores. With respect to rainfall amount, ECMWF performs only slightly better than EPS over most of the low latitudes and worse over high-mountain and dry oceanic areas as well as over tropical Africa, where the lack of skill is also evident in independent station data. For rainfall occurrence, EPC is superior over most oceanic, coastal, and mountain regions, although the better potential predictive ability of ECMWF indicates that this is mostly due to calibration problems. To encourage the use of the new benchmark, we provide the data, scripts, and an interactive webtool to the scientific community.

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Maria Pyrina, Marcel Nonnenmacher, Sebastian Wagner, and Eduardo Zorita

Abstract

Statistical climate prediction has sometimes demonstrated higher accuracy than coupled dynamical forecast systems. This study tests the applicability of springtime soil moisture (SM) over Europe and sea surface temperatures (SSTs) of three North Atlantic (NA) regions as statistical predictors of European mean summer temperature (t2m). We set up two statistical-learning (SL) frameworks, based on methods commonly applied in climate research. The SL models are trained with gridded products derived from station, reanalysis, and satellite data (ERA-20C, ERA-Land, CERA, COBE2, CRU, and ESA-CCI). The predictive potential of SM anomalies in statistical forecasting had so far remained elusive. Our statistical models trained with SM achieve high summer t2m prediction skill in terms of Pearson correlation coefficient (r), with r≥0.5 over Central and Eastern Europe. Moreover, we find that the reanalysis and satellite SM data contain similar information that can be extracted by our methods and used in fitting the forecast models.

Furthermore, the predictive potential of SSTs within different areas in the NA basin was tested. The predictive power of SSTs might increase, as in our case, when specific areas are selected. Forecasts based on extratropical SSTs achieve high prediction skill over South Europe. The combined prediction, using SM and SST predictor data, results in r≥0.5 over all European regions south of 50°N and east of 5°W. This is a better skill than the one achieved by other prediction schemes based on dynamical models. Our analysis highlights specific NA mid-latitude regions that are more strongly connected to summer mean European temperature.

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Christopher J. Nowotarski, Justin Spotts, Roger Edwards, Scott Overpeck, and Gary R. Woodall

Abstract

Tropical cyclone tornadoes pose a unique challenge to warning forecasters given their often marginal environments and radar attributes. In late August 2017 Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast and produced 52 tornadoes over a record-breaking seven consecutive days. To improve warning efforts, this case study of Harvey’s tornadoes includes an event overview as well as a comparison of near-cell environments and radar attributes between tornadic and nontornadic warned cells. Our results suggest that significant differences existed in both the near-cell environments and radar attributes, particularly rotational velocity, between tornadic cells and false alarms. For many environmental variables and radar attributes, differences were enhanced when only tornadoes associated with a tornado debris signature were considered. Our results highlight the potential of improving warning skill further and reducing false alarms by increasing rotational velocity warning thresholds, refining the use of near-storm environment information, and focusing warning efforts on cells likely to produce the most impactful tornadoes.

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Branden Katona and Paul Markowski

Abstract

Storms crossing complex terrain can potentially encounter rapidly changing convective environments. However, our understanding of terrain-induced variability in convective storm environments remains limited. HRRR data are used to create climatologies of popular convective storm forecasting parameters for different wind regimes. Self-organizing maps (SOMs) are used to generate six different low-level wind regimes, characterized by different wind directions, for which popular instability and vertical wind shear parameters are averaged. The climatologies show that both instability and vertical wind shear are highly variable in regions of complex terrain, and that the spatial distributions of perturbations relative to the terrain are dependent on the low-level wind direction. Idealized simulations are used to investigate the origins of some of the perturbations seen in the SOM climatologies. The idealized simulations replicate many of the features in the SOM climatologies, which facilitates analysis of their dynamical origins. Terrain influences are greatest when winds are approximately perpendicular to the terrain. In such cases, a standing wave can develop in the lee, leading to an increase in low-level wind speed and a reduction in vertical wind shear with the valley lee of the plateau. Additionally, CAPE tends to be decreased and LCL heights are increased in the lee of the terrain where relative humidity within the boundary layer is locally decreased.

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William R. Burrows and Curtis J. Mooney

Abstract

Blizzard conditions occur regularly in the Canadian Arctic, with high impact on travel and life there. These extreme conditions are challenging to forecast for this vast domain because the observation network is sparse and remote sensing coverage is limited. To establish occurrence statistics we analyzed aviation routine weather reports (METARs) from Canadian Arctic stations between October and May 2014–18. Blizzard conditions occur most frequently in open tundra east and north of the boreal forest boundary, with the highest frequency found on the northwest side of Hudson Bay and over flat terrain in central Baffin Island. Except in sheltered locations, the reported cause of reduced visibility is blowing snow without precipitating snow in about one-half to two-thirds of METARs made by a human observer, even higher at some stations. We produce three products that forecast blizzard conditions from postprocessed NWP model output. The blizzard potential (BP), generated from expert’s rules, is intended for warning well in advance of areas where blizzard conditions may develop. A second product (BH) stems from regression equations for the probability of visibility ≤ 1 km in blowing snow and/or concurrent snow derived by Baggaley and Hanesiak. A third product (RF), generated with the random forest ensemble classification algorithm, makes a consensus YES/NO forecast for blizzard conditions. We describe the products, provide verification, and show forecasts for a significant blizzard event. Receiver operator characteristic curves and critical success index scores show RF forecasts have greater accuracy than BP and BH forecasts at all lead times.

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