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Yasutaka Ikuta, Masaki Satoh, Masahiro Sawada, Hiroshi Kusabiraki, and Takuji Kubota

Abstract

In this study, the single-moment 6-class bulk cloud microphysics scheme used in the operational numerical weather prediction system at the Japan Meteorological Agency was improved using the observations of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) core satellite as reference values. The original cloud microphysics scheme has the following biases: underestimation of cloud ice compared to the brightness temperature of the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) and underestimation of the lower troposphere rain compared to the reflectivity of GPM Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR). Furthermore, validation of the dual-frequency rate of reflectivity revealed that the dominant particles in the solid phase of simulation were graupel and deviated from DPR observation. The causes of these issues were investigated using a single-column kinematic model. The underestimation of cloud ice was caused by a high ice-to-snow conversion rate, and the underestimation of precipitation in the lower layers was caused by an excessive number of small-diameter rain particles. The parameterization of microphysics scheme is improved to eliminate the biases in the single-column model. In the forecast obtained using the improved scheme, the underestimation of cloud ice and rain is reduced. Consequently, the prediction errors of hydrometeors were reduced against the GPM satellite observations, and the atmospheric profiles and precipitation forecasts were improved.

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Free access
Yuta Kawai and Hirofumi Tomita

Abstract

Recently, large-eddy simulation (LES) has been increasingly employed in meteorological simulations because it is a promising method for turbulent parameterization. However, it is still difficult to affirm that the numerical accuracy required for a dynamical core is fully understood. In this study, we derived two theoretical criteria for the order of accuracy of the advection term in a typical situation of the atmospheric boundary layer, and demonstrate their validity by numerical experiments. In the targeted grid-spacing of O(10) m, we determined the required order of accuracy as follows: Based on the criterion of the numerical diffusion error, the upwind scheme must have at least seventh-order accuracy. The fourth-order central scheme is barely acceptable with fourth-order explicit diffusion, provided that its coefficient is one or two orders of magnitude smaller than the implicit diffusion coefficient of the third-order upwind scheme. Based on the criterion of numerical dispersion error, at minimum, the seventh or eighth order is required. The dispersion error was indirect for the energy spectra, although we expect it may affect the local turbulence mechanism. We also investigated the effects of temporal discretization for compressible models, and found that relatively lower-order time schemes are available up to the O(10) m grid spacing if the time step is sufficiently small due to sound wave limitations. The importance of the derived criteria is that the required order of accuracy increases as the grid spacing decreases. This suggests that considerable care should be taken regarding the numerical error problem for future high-resolution LES.

Open access
Satoru Kasuga, Meiji Honda, Jinro Ukita, Shozo Yamane, Hiroaki Kawase, and Akira Yamazaki

Abstract

We propose a new scheme based on geopotential height fields to detect cutoff lows starting in the preexisting trough stage. The intensity and scale derived from the proposed scheme will allow for a better understanding of the cutoff low life cycle. These cutoff lows often accompany mesoscale disturbances, causing adverse weather-related events, such as intense torrential rainfall and/or tornadoes. The proposed scheme quantifies the geometric features of a depression from its horizontal height profile. The height slope of a line intersecting the depression bottom and the nearest tangential point (optimal slope) locally indicates the intensity and scale of an isolated depression. The strength of the proposed scheme is that, by removing a local background height slope from a geopotential height field, the cutoff low and its preexisting trough are seamlessly detected as an identical depression. The distribution maps for the detected cutoff lows and preexisting troughs are illustrated along with their intensities, sizes, and local background flows estimated from snapshot height fields. We conducted climatological comparisons of cutoff lows to determine the utility of the proposed scheme.

Open access
Erika L. Duran, Emily B. Berndt, and Patrick Duran

Abstract

Hyperspectral infrared satellite sounding retrievals are used to examine thermodynamic changes in the tropical cyclone (TC) environment associated with the diurnal cycle of radiation. Vertical profiles of temperature and moisture are retrieved from the Suomi National Polar–orbiting Partnership (S–NPP) satellite system, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)–20, and the Meteorological Operational (MetOp) A/B satellite system, leveraging both infrared and microwave sounding technologies. Vertical profiles are binned radially based on distance from the storm center and composited at 4–hr intervals to reveal the evolution of the diurnal cycle. For the three cases examined – Hurricane Dorian (2019), Hurricane Florence (2018) and Hurricane Irma (2017) – a marked diurnal signal is evident that extends through a deep layer of the troposphere. Statistically significant differences at the 95% level are observed in temperature, moisture, and lapse rate profiles, indicating a moistening and destabilization of the mid to upper troposphere that is more pronounced near the inner core of the TC at night. Observations support a favorable environment for the formation of deep convection caused by diurnal differences in radiative heating tendencies, which could partially explain why new diurnal pulses tend to form around sunset. These findings demonstrate that the diurnal cycle of radiation affects TC thermodynamics through a deep layer of the troposphere, and suggest that hyperspectral infrared satellite sounding retrievals are valuable assets in detecting thermodynamic variations in TCs.

Open access
Richard B. Bagley and Craig B. Clements

Abstract

The second largest fire shelter deployment in U.S. history occurred in August 2003 during the Devil Fire, which was burning in a remote and rugged region of the San Francisco Bay Area, when relative humidity abruptly dropped in the middle of the night, causing rapid fire growth. Nocturnal drying events in the higher elevations along California’s central coast are a unique phenomenon that poses a great risk to wildland firefighters. Single-digit relative humidity with dewpoints below −25°C is not uncommon during summer nights in this region. To provide the fire management community with knowledge of these hazardous conditions, an event criterion was established to develop a climatology of nocturnal drying and to investigate the synoptic patterns associated with these events. A lower-tropospheric source region of dry air was found over the northeastern Pacific Ocean corresponding to an area of maximum low-level divergence and associated subsidence. This dry air forms above a marine inversion and advects inland overnight with the marine layer and immerses higher-elevation terrain with warm and dry air. An average of 15–20 nocturnal drying events per year occur in elevations greater than 700 m in the San Francisco Bay Area, and their characteristics are highly variable, making them a challenge to forecast.

Open access
Emanuel Dutra, Frederico Johannsen, and Linus Magnusson

Abstract

Subseasonal forecasts lie between medium-range and seasonal time scales with an emerging attention due to the relevance in society and by the scientific challenges involved. This study aims to (i) evaluate the development of systematic errors with lead time in the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ensemble forecasts of surface-related variables during late spring and summer, and (ii) investigate potential relationships between the systematic errors and predictive skill. The evaluation is performed over the Northern Hemisphere midlatitudes, focusing on several regions with different climate characteristics. The results indicate five key bias patterns: (i) cold bias of daily maximum temperature (mx2t) in the April–May forecasts at all lead times in most regions; (ii) central North America with a warm bias mostly in the daily minimum temperature (mn2t); (iii) east of the Caspian Sea region with a warm and dry bias; (iv) western and Mediterranean Europe with a cold bias in mn2t mainly in April–May forecasts; and (v) continental Europe with a cold bias in the mx2t and warm bias of mn2t in the June–July forecasts. We also found substantial deviations of soil moisture and terrestrial water storage variation in most regions compared to the fifth-generation ECMWF atmospheric reanalysis (ERA5). Despite the large differences in the systematic error characteristics among the different regions, there is little relation to the skill of the subseasonal forecasts. The systematic temperature biases require further attention from model developers as diurnal cycle improvements could enhance some of the potential predictability coming from the long-memory effect of soil moisture.

Open access
James N. Marquis, Adam C. Varble, Paul Robinson, T. Connor Nelson, and Katja Friedrich

Abstract

Data from scanning radars, radiosondes, and vertical profilers deployed during three field campaigns are analyzed to study interactions between cloud-scale updrafts associated with initiating deep moist convection and the surrounding environment. Three cases are analyzed in which the radar networks permitted dual-Doppler wind retrievals in clear air preceding and during the onset of surface precipitation. These observations capture the evolution of (i) the mesoscale and boundary layer flow, and (ii) low-level updrafts associated with deep moist convection initiation (CI) events yielding sustained or short-lived precipitating storms. The elimination of convective inhibition did not distinguish between sustained and unsustained CI events, though the vertical distribution of convective available potential energy may have played a role. The clearest signal differentiating the initiation of sustained versus unsustained precipitating deep convection was the depth of the low-level horizontal wind convergence associated with the mesoscale flow feature triggering CI, a sharp surface wind shift boundary, or orographic upslope flow. The depth of the boundary layer relative to the height of the LFC failed to be a consistent indicator of CI potential. Widths of the earliest detectable low-level updrafts associated with sustained precipitating deep convection were ~3–5 km, larger than updrafts associated with surrounding boundary layer turbulence (~1–3 km wide). It is hypothesized that updrafts of this larger size are important for initiating cells to survive the destructive effects of buoyancy dilution via entrainment.

Open access
Free access
Peter N. Blossey, Christopher S. Bretherton, and Johannes Mohrmann

Abstract

The goal of this study is to challenge a large-eddy simulation model with a range of observations from a modern field campaign and to develop case studies useful to other modelers. The 2015 Cloud System Evolution in the Trades (CSET) field campaign provided a wealth of in situ and remote sensing observations of subtropical cloud transitions in the summertime northeast Pacific. Two Lagrangian case studies based on these observations are used to validate the thermodynamic, radiative, and microphysical properties of large-eddy simulations (LES) of the stratocumulus to cumulus transition. The two cases contrast a relatively fast cloud transition in a clean, initially well-mixed boundary layer versus a slower transition in an initially decoupled boundary layer with higher aerosol concentrations and stronger mean subsidence. For each case, simulations of two neighboring trajectories sample mesoscale variability and the coherence of the transition in adjacent air masses. In both cases, LES broadly reproduce satellite and aircraft observations of the transition. Simulations of the first case match observations more closely than for the second case, where simulations underestimate cloud cover early in the simulations and overestimate cloud top height later. For the first case, simulated cloud fraction and liquid water path increase if a larger cloud droplet number concentration is prescribed. In the second case, precipitation onset and inversion cloud breakup occur earlier when the LES domain is chosen to be large enough to support strong mesoscale organization.

Open access