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Joshua B. Wadler
,
Joseph J. Cione
,
Samantha Michlowitz
,
Benjamin Jaimes de la Cruz
, and
Lynn K. Shay

Abstract

This study uses fixed buoy time series to create an algorithm for sea surface temperature (SST) cooling underneath a tropical cyclone (TC) inner core. To build predictive equations, SST cooling is first related to single variable predictors such as the SST before storm arrival, ocean heat content (OHC), mixed layer depth, sea surface salinity and stratification, storm intensity, storm translation speed, and latitude. Of all the single variable predictors, initial SST before storm arrival explains the greatest amount of variance for the change in SST during storm passage. Using a combination of predictors, we created nonlinear predictive equations for SST cooling. In general, the best predictive equations have four predictors and are built with knowledge about the prestorm ocean structure (e.g., OHC), storm intensity (e.g., minimum sea level pressure), initial SST values before storm arrival, and latitude. The best-performing SST cooling equations are broken up into two ocean regimes: when the ocean heat content is less than 60 kJ cm−2 (greater spread in SST cooling values) and when the ocean heat content is greater than 60 kJ cm−2 (SST cooling is always less than 2°C), which demonstrates the importance of the prestorm oceanic thermal structure on the in-storm SST value. The new equations are compared to what is currently used in a statistical–dynamical model. Overall, since the ocean providing the latent heat and sensible heat fluxes necessary for TC intensification, the results highlight the importance for consistently obtaining accurate in-storm upper-oceanic thermal structure for accurate TC intensity forecasts.

Significance Statement

The ocean provides the heat and moisture necessary for tropical cyclone (TC) intensification. Since the heat and moisture transfer depend on the sea surface temperature (SST), we create statistical equations for the prediction of SST underneath the storm. The variables we use combine the initial SST before the storm arrives, the upper-ocean thermal structure, and the strength and translation speed of the storm. The predictive equations for SST are evaluated for how well they improve TC intensity forecasts. The best-performing equations can be used for prediction in operational statistical models, which can aid intensity forecasts.

Restricted access
Timothy B. Higgins
,
Aneesh C. Subramanian
,
Will E. Chapman
,
David A. Lavers
, and
Andrew C. Winters

Abstract

Accurate forecasts of weather conditions have the potential to mitigate the social and economic damages they cause. To make informed decisions based on forecasts, it is important to determine the extent to which they could be skillful. This study focuses on subseasonal forecasts out to a lead time of four weeks. We examine the differences between the potential predictability, which is computed under the assumption of a “perfect model,” of integrated vapor transport (IVT) and precipitation under extreme conditions in subseasonal forecasts across the northeast Pacific. Our results demonstrate significant forecast skill of extreme IVT and precipitation events (exceeding the 90th percentile) into week 4 for specific areas, particularly when anomalously wet conditions are observed in the true model state. This forecast skill during weeks 3 and 4 is closely associated with a zonal extension of the North Pacific jet. These findings of the source of skillful subseasonal forecasts over the U.S. West Coast could have implications for water management in these regions susceptible to drought and flooding extremes. Additionally, they may offer valuable insights for governments and industries on the U.S. West Coast seeking to make informed decisions based on extended weather prediction.

Significance Statement

The purpose of this study is to understand the differences between the ability to predict high amounts of the transport of water vapor and precipitation over the North Pacific 3 and 4 weeks into the future. The results indicate that differences do exist in a region that is relevant to precipitation on the U.S. West Coast. To physically explain why differences in predictability exist, the relationship between weekly extremes of the extension of the jet stream, IVT, and precipitation over the North Pacific is explored. These findings may impact decisions relevant to water management on the U.S. West Coast susceptible to drought and flooding extremes.

Restricted access
Ayumi Fujisaki-Manome
,
Haoguo Hu
,
Jia Wang
,
Joannes J. Westerink
,
Damrongsak Wirasaet
,
Guoming Ling
,
Mindo Choi
,
Saeed Moghimi
,
Edward Myers
,
Ali Abdolali
,
Clint Dawson
, and
Carol Janzen

Abstract

In Alaska’s coastal environment, accurate information of sea ice conditions is desired by operational forecasters, emergency managers, and responders. Complicated interactions among atmosphere, waves, ocean circulation, and sea ice collectively impact the ice conditions, intensity of storm surges, and flooding, making accurate predictions challenging. A collaborative work to build the Alaska Coastal Ocean Forecast System established an integrated storm surge, wave, and sea ice model system for the coasts of Alaska, where the verified model components are linked using the Earth System Modeling Framework and the National Unified Operational Prediction Capability. We present the verification of the sea ice model component based on the Los Alamos Sea Ice Model, version 6. The regional, high-resolution (3 km) configuration of the model was forced by operational atmospheric and ocean model outputs. Extensive numerical experiments were conducted from December 2018 to August 2020 to verify the model’s capability to represent detailed nearshore and offshore sea ice behavior, including landfast ice, ice thickness, and evolution of air–ice drag coefficient. Comparisons of the hindcast simulations with the observations of ice extent presented the model’s comparable performance with the Global Ocean Forecast System 3.1 (GOFS3.1). The model’s skill in reproducing landfast ice area significantly outperformed GOFS3.1. Comparison of the modeled sea ice freeboard with the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 product showed a mean bias of −4.6 cm. Daily 5-day forecast simulations for October 2020–August 2021 presented the model’s promising performance for future implementation in the coupled model system.

Significance Statement

Accurate sea ice information along Alaska’s coasts is desired by the communities for preparedness of hazardous events, such as storm surges and flooding. However, such information, in particular predicted conditions, remains to be a gap. This study presents the verification of the state-of-art sea ice model for Alaska’s coasts for future use in the more comprehensive coupled model system where ocean circulation, wave, and sea ice models are integrated. The model demonstrates comparable performance with the existing operational ocean–ice coupled model product in reproducing overall sea ice extent and significantly outperformed it in reproducing landfast ice cover. Comparison with the novel satellite product presented the model’s ability to capture sea ice freeboard in the stable ice season.

Open access
Temple R. Lee
,
Sandip Pal
,
Ronald D. Leeper
,
Tim Wilson
,
Howard J. Diamond
,
Tilden P. Meyers
, and
David D. Turner

Abstract

The scientific literature has many studies evaluating numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. However, many of those studies averaged across a myriad of different atmospheric conditions and surface forcings that can obfuscate the atmospheric conditions when NWP models perform well versus when they perform inadequately. To help isolate these different weather conditions, we used observations from the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) obtained between 1 January and 31 December 2021 to distinguish among different near-surface atmospheric conditions [i.e., different near-surface heating rates ( d T / d t ), incoming shortwave radiation (SW d ) regimes, and 5-cm soil moisture (SM05)] to evaluate the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) Model, which is a 3-km model used for operational weather forecasting in the United States. On days with small (large) d T / d t , we found afternoon T biases of about 2°C (−1°C) and afternoon SW d biases of up to 170 W m−2 (100 W m−2), but negligible impacts on SM05 biases. On days with small (large) SW d , we found daytime temperature biases of about 3°C (−2.5°C) and daytime SW d biases of up to 190 W m−2 (80 W m−2). Whereas different SM05 had little impact on T and SW d biases, dry (wet) conditions had positive (negative) SM05 biases. We argue that the proper evaluation of weather forecasting models requires careful consideration of different near-surface atmospheric conditions and is critical to better identify model deficiencies in order to support improvements to the parameterization schemes used therein. A similar, regime-specific verification approach may also be used to help evaluate other geophysical models.

Significance Statement

Improving weather forecasting models requires careful evaluations against high-quality observations. We used observations from the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) and found that the performance of the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) Model varies as a function of differences in near-surface heating and solar radiation. This finding indicates that model evaluations need to be conducted under varying near-surface weather conditions rather than averaging across multiple weather types. This new approach will allow for model developers to better identify model deficiencies and is a useful step to helping improve weather forecasts.

Open access
Wei Tian
,
Yuanyuan Chen
,
Ping Song
,
Haifeng Xu
,
Liguang Wu
,
Kenny Thiam Choy Lim Kam Sian
,
Yonghong Zhang
, and
Chunyi Xiang

Abstract

This paper proposes a spatiotemporal attention convolutional network (STAC-Pred) that leverages deep learning techniques to model the spatiotemporal features of tropical cyclones (TCs) and enable real-time prediction of their intensity. The proposed model employs dual branches to concurrently extract and integrate features from intensity heatmaps and satellite cloud imagery. Additionally, a residual attention (RA) module is integrated into the three-channel cloud imagery convolution process to automatically respond to high wind speed regions. TC’s longitude, latitude, and radius of winds are injected into the multi-timepoint prediction model to assist in the prediction task. Furthermore, a rolling mechanism (RM) is employed to smooth the fluctuation of losses, achieving accurate prediction of TC intensity. We use several TC records to evaluate and validate the universality and effectiveness of the model. The results indicate that STAC-Pred achieves satisfactory performance. Specifically, the STAC-Pred model improves prediction performance by 47.69% and 28.26% compared to the baseline (official institutions) at 3- and 6-h intervals, respectively.

Significance Statement

Tropical cyclones are one of the most deadly and damaging natural disasters in coastal areas worldwide. Early prediction can significantly reduce casualties and property losses. This study innovatively conducts dimensionality augmentation on one-dimensional intensity numerical sequences and proposes a new network model for rolling forecast of their future intensity. The proposed prototype model (not yet incorporating any atmospheric conditions) shows promising results for 3- and 6-h advance forecasts, providing valuable guidance for forecasters regarding real-time operational predictions of short-term tropical cyclone intensity.

Restricted access
Wenting Wang
,
Hongrong Shi
,
Disong Fu
,
Mengqi Liu
,
Jiawei Li
,
Yunpeng Shan
,
Tao Hong
,
Dazhi Yang
, and
Xiang’ao Xia

Abstract

Numerical weather prediction (NWP), when accessible, is a crucial input to short-term solar power forecasting. WRF-Solar, the first NWP model specifically designed for solar energy applications, has shown promising predictive capability. Nevertheless, few attempts have been made to investigate its performance under high aerosol loading, which attenuates incoming radiation significantly. The North China Plain is a polluted region due to industrialization, which constitutes a proper testbed for such investigation. In this paper, aerosol direct radiative effect (DRE) on three surface shortwave radiation components (i.e., global, beam, and diffuse) during five heavy pollution episodes is studied within the WRF-Solar framework. Results show that WRF-Solar overestimates instantaneous beam radiation up to 795.3 W m−2 when the aerosol DRE is not considered. Although such overestimation can be partially offset by an underestimation of the diffuse radiation of about 194.5 W m−2, the overestimation of the global radiation still reaches 160.2 W m−2. This undesirable bias can be reduced when WRF-Solar is powered by Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) aerosol forecasts, which then translates to accuracy improvements in photovoltaic (PV) power forecasts. This work also compares the forecast performance of the CAMS-powered WRF-Solar with that of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts model. Under high aerosol loading conditions, the irradiance forecast accuracy generated by WRF-Solar increased by 53.2% and the PV power forecast accuracy increased by 6.8%.

Significance Statement

Numerical weather prediction (NWP) is the “go-to” approach for achieving high-performance day-ahead solar power forecasting. Integrating time-varying aerosol forecasts into NWP models effectively captures aerosol direct radiation effects, thereby enhancing the accuracy of solar irradiance forecasts in heavily polluted regions. This work not only quantifies the aerosol effects on global, beam, and diffuse irradiance but also reveals the physical mechanisms of irradiance-to-power conversion by constructing a model chain. Using the North China Plain as a testbed, the performance of WRF-Solar on solar power forecasting on five severe pollution days is analyzed. This version of WRF-Solar can outperform the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts model, confirming the need for generating high spatial–temporal NWP.

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Hann-Ming Henry Juang
,
Tzu-Yu Wu
,
Pang-Yen Brian Liu
,
Hsin-Yi Lin
,
Ching-Teng Lee
,
Mien-Tze Kueh
,
Jia-Fong Fan
,
Jen-Her River Chen
,
Mong-Ming Lu
, and
Pay-Liam Lin

Abstract

The first version of the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau one-tier (TCWB1T) fully coupled global atmospheric and oceanic modeling forecast system had been developed and implemented as a routine operation for seasonal prediction at Central Weather Bureau (CWB) in 2017, with a minor revision in 2020. Based on NCEP CFSv1, the global atmospheric model in NCEP CFSv1 was replaced by CWB’s atmospheric global spectral model (GSM) and coupled with the GFDL MOM3. Several parameters have been tested and tuned in the CWB atmospheric GSM, achieving an optimal configuration with better sea surface temperature (SST) predictions for integration more than one year. Using NCEP CFSR as the initial condition, TCWB1T conducted hindcasts from 1982 to 2011 and forecasts from 2012 to 2019 to analyze its performance. The results of these hindcasts and forecasts show that the TCWB1T can make useful predictions as verified against the observations of OISST, ERSST, CFSR, and GPCP based on the methods of EOF, RMSE, anomaly correlation, ranked probability skill score (RPSS), reliability diagram (RD), and relative operating characteristics (ROCs). TCWB1T also has the same level of skill scores as NCEP CFSv2 and/or the ECMWF fifth-generation seasonal forecast system (SEAS5), based on EOF, anomaly pattern correlation, climatological bias, RMSE, temporal correlation, and anomaly correlation percentage of forecast skill. TCWB1T shows forecast skill that is better in winter than in summer. Overall, it indicates that TCWB1T can be used for seasonal ENSO predictions.

Restricted access
Ethan Collins
,
Zachary J. Lebo
,
Robert Cox
,
Christopher Hammer
,
Matthew Brothers
,
Bart Geerts
,
Robert Capella
, and
Sarah McCorkle

Abstract

Strong wind events cause significant societal damage ranging from loss of property and disruption of commerce to loss of life. Over portions of the United States, the strongest winds occur in the cold season and may be driven by interactions with the terrain (downslope winds, gap flow, and mountain wave activity). In the first part of this two-part series, we evaluate the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model wind speed and gust forecasts for the 2016–22 winter months over Wyoming and Colorado, an area prone to downslope windstorms and gap flows due to its complex topography. The HRRR model exhibits a positive bias for low wind speeds/gusts and a large negative bias for strong wind speeds/gusts. In general, the model misses many strong wind events, but when it does predict strong winds, there is a high false alarm probability. An analysis of proxies for surface winds is conducted. Specifically, 700- and 850-mb (1 mb = 1 hPa) geopotential height gradients are found to be good proxies for strong wind speeds and gusts at two wind-prone locations in Wyoming. Given the good agreement between low-level height gradients and surface wind speeds yet a strong negative bias for strong wind speeds and gusts, there is a potential shortcoming in the boundary layer physics in the HRRR model with regard to predicting strong winds over complex terrain, which is the focus of the second part of this two-part study. Last, the sites with the largest strong wind speed bias are found to mostly sit on the leeward side of high mountains, suggesting that the HRRR model performs poorly in the prediction of downslope windstorms.

Significance Statement

We investigate the performance of the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model with respect to strong wintertime wind speeds and gusts over the complex terrain of Wyoming and Colorado. We show that the overall performance of the HRRR model is low with regard to strong wind speed and wind gust forecasts across the investigated winter seasons, with a large negative bias in predicted strong wind speeds and gusts and a small positive bias for weak wind speeds and gusts. The largest biases are found to be on the leeward side of high mountains, indicating poor prediction of downslope winds. This study also utilizes National Weather Service forecasting metrics to understand their performance with respect to strong wind forecasts, and we find that they provide skill in forecasting these events.

Restricted access
Ethan Collins
,
Zachary J. Lebo
,
Robert Cox
,
Christopher Hammer
,
Matthew Brothers
,
Bart Geerts
,
Robert Capella
, and
Sarah McCorkle

Abstract

Strong wind events can cause severe economic loss and societal impacts. Peak winds over Wyoming and Colorado occur during the wintertime months, and in the first part of this two-part series, it was shown that the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model displays large negative biases with respect to strong wind events. In this part of the study, we address two questions: 1) does increasing the horizontal resolution improve the representation of strong wind events over this region, and 2) are the biases in HRRR-forecasted winds related to the selected planetary boundary layer (PBL), surface layer (SL), and/or land surface model (LSM) parameterizations? We conduct Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model simulations to address these two main questions. Increasing the horizontal resolution leads to a small improvement in the simulation of strong wind speeds over the complex terrain of Wyoming and Colorado. In general, changes in the PBL, SL, and LSM parameterizations show much larger changes in simulated wind speeds compared to increasing the model resolution alone. Specifically, changing from the Mellor–Yamada–Nakanishi–Niino scheme to the Mellor–Yamada–Janjić PBL and SL schemes results in nearly no change in the r 2 values, but there is a decrease in the magnitude of the strong wind speed bias (from −12.52 to −10.16 m s−1). We attribute these differences to differences in the diagnosis of surface wind speeds and mixing in the boundary layer. Further analysis is conducted to determine the value of 1-km forecasts of strong winds compared with wind speed diagnostics commonly used by the National Weather Service.

Significance Statement

Motivated by prior studies showing low skill in the prediction of strong winds using state-of-the-art weather forecast models, in this study, we aim to investigate two questions: 1) does increasing the horizontal resolution improve the prediction of strong wind events over the complex terrain of Wyoming and Colorado, and 2) are the biases in High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) forecasted winds related to the selected planetary boundary layer, surface layer, and/or land surface model parameterizations? We find that increasing the horizontal resolution provides a slight improvement in the prediction of strong winds. Further, considerable improvement in the prediction of strong winds is found for varying boundary layer, surface layer, and land surface parameterizations.

Restricted access
Gregory J. Stumpf
and
Sarah M. Stough

Abstract

Legacy National Weather Service verification techniques, when applied to current static severe convective warnings, exhibit limitations, particularly in accounting for the precise spatial and temporal aspects of warnings and severe convective events. Consequently, they are not particularly well suited for application to some proposed future National Weather Service warning delivery methods considered under the Forecasting a Continuum of Environmental Threats (FACETs) initiative. These methods include threats-in-motion (TIM), wherein warning polygons move nearly continuously with convective hazards, and probabilistic hazard information (PHI), a concept that involves augmenting warnings with rapidly updating probabilistic plumes. A new geospatial verification method was developed and evaluated, by which warnings and observations are placed on equivalent grids within a common reference frame, with each grid cell being represented as a hit, miss, false alarm, or correct null for each minute. New measures are computed, including false alarm area and location-specific lead time, departure time, and false alarm time. Using the 27 April 2011 tornado event, we applied the TIM and PHI warning techniques to demonstrate the benefits of rapidly updating warning areas, showcase the application of the geospatial verification method within this novel warning framework, and highlight the impact of varying probabilistic warning thresholds on warning performance. Additionally, the geospatial verification method was tested on a storm-based warning dataset (2008–22) to derive annual, monthly, and hourly statistics.

Open access