Browse

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 18 items for :

  • Targeted Observations, Data Assimilation, and Tropical Cyclone Predictability x
  • All content x
Clear All
Peter Black, Lee Harrison, Mark Beaubien, Robert Bluth, Roy Woods, Andrew Penny, Robert W. Smith, and James D. Doyle

Abstract

The High-Definition Sounding System (HDSS) is an automated system deploying the expendable digital dropsonde (XDD) designed to measure wind and pressure–temperature–humidity (PTH) profiles, and skin sea surface temperature (SST) within and around tropical cyclones (TCs) and other high-impact weather events needing high sampling density. Three experiments were conducted to validate the XDD.

On two successive days off the California coast, 10 XDDs and 14 Vaisala RD-94s were deployed from the navy’s Center for Interdisciplinary Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Studies (CIRPAS) Twin Otter aircraft over offshore buoys. The Twin Otter made spiral descents from 4 km to 60 m at the same descent rate as the sondes. Differences between successive XDD and RD-94 profiles due to true meteorological variability were on the same order as the profile differences between the spirals, XDDs, and RD-94s. XDD SST measured via infrared microradiometer, referred to as infrared skin SST (SSTir), and surface wind measurements were within 0.5°C and 1.5 m s−1, respectively, of buoy and Twin Otter values.

A NASA DC-8 flight launched six XDDs from 12 km between ex-TC Cosme and the Baja California coast. Repeatability was shown with good agreement between features in successive profiles. XDD SSTir measurements from 18° to 28°C and surface winds agreed well with drifting buoy- and satellite-derived estimates.

Excellent agreement was found between PTH and wind profiles measured by XDDs deployed from a NASA WB-57 at 18-km altitude offshore from the Texas coast and NWS radiosonde profiles from Brownsville and Corpus Christi, Texas. Successful XDD profiles were obtained in the clear and within precipitation over an offshore squall line.

Full access
Matthieu Plu

Abstract

The inherent predictability of tropical cyclone tracks has received much attention since the 1980s. It is still an issue because of the recent improvement of track forecasts by numerical models. The aim of this study is to assess this predictability limit globally using an approach devised by Lorenz on several up-to-date numerical models. The differences between forecasts valid at the same instant are considered to be error values; the doubling time of these small errors leads to an estimated upper bound on predictability. This method is here applied on cyclone position forecasts obtained from three different global operational models (from ECMWF, Météo-France, and the Met Office) over the main tropical cyclone basins in the world and during three recent cyclone seasons (2006–09).

The resulting estimates of predictability largely exceed the values that are commonly accepted in the literature. The doubling time of small errors is found between 30 and 50 h. An important consequence is that cyclone track forecasts have not reached their predictability limit yet. It is argued that the previous methods for computing the predictability of tropical cyclone tracks did not constrain the environment and the structure of the cyclones initially. But the Lorenz method could still underestimate the inherent predictability of tropical cyclone tracks. The sensitivity of the predictability estimates to the model characteristics is discussed. In particular, the use of wind bogus is suggested to avoid serial correlations between successive forecasts and to accelerate error growth.

Full access
Sim D. Aberson

Abstract

Four aircraft released dropwindsondes in and around tropical cyclones in the west Pacific during The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) Pacific Area Regional Campaign (T-PARC) in 2008 and the Dropwindsonde Observations for Typhoon Surveillance near the Taiwan Region (DOTSTAR); multiple aircraft concurrently participated in similar missions in the Atlantic. Previous studies have treated each region separately and have focused on the tropical cyclones whose environments were sampled. The large number of missions and tropical cyclones in both regions, and additional tropical cyclones in the east Pacific and Indian Oceans, allows for the global impact of these observations on tropical cyclone track forecasts to be studied.

The study shows that there are unintended global consequences to local changes in initial conditions, in this case due to the assimilation of dropwindsonde data in tropical cyclone environments. These global impacts are mainly due to the spectral nature of the model system. These differences should be small and slightly positive, since improved local initial conditions should lead to small global forecast improvements. However, the impacts on tropical cyclones far removed from the data are shown to be as large and positive as those on the tropical cyclones specifically targeted for improved track forecasts. Causes of this unexpected result are hypothesized, potentially providing operational forecasters tools to identify when large remote impacts from surveillance missions might occur.

Full access
Kun-Hsuan Chou, Chun-Chieh Wu, Po-Hsiung Lin, Sim D. Aberson, Martin Weissmann, Florian Harnisch, and Tetsuo Nakazawa

Abstract

The typhoon surveillance program Dropwindsonde Observations for Typhoon Surveillance near the Taiwan Region (DOTSTAR) has been conducted since 2003 to obtain dropwindsonde observations around tropical cyclones near Taiwan. In addition, an international field project The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) Pacific Asian Regional Campaign (T-PARC) in which dropwindsonde observations were obtained by both surveillance and reconnaissance flights was conducted in summer 2008 in the same region. In this study, the impact of the dropwindsonde data on track forecasts is investigated for DOTSTAR (2003–09) and T-PARC (2008) experiments. Two operational global models from NCEP and ECMWF are used to evaluate the impact of dropwindsonde data. In addition, the impact on the two-model mean is assessed.

The impact of dropwindsonde data on track forecasts is different in the NCEP and ECMWF model systems. Using the NCEP system, the assimilation of dropwindsonde data leads to improvements in 1- to 5-day track forecasts in about 60% of the cases. The differences between track forecasts with and without the dropwindsonde data are generally larger for cases in which the data improved the forecasts than in cases in which the forecasts were degraded. Overall, the mean 1- to 5-day track forecast error is reduced by about 10%–20% for both DOTSTAR and T-PARC cases in the NCEP system. In the ECMWF system, the impact is not as beneficial as in the NCEP system, likely because of more extensive use of satellite data and more complex data assimilation used in the former, leading to better performance even without dropwindsonde data. The stronger impacts of the dropwindsonde data are revealed for the 3- to 5-day forecast in the two-model mean of the NCEP and ECMWF systems than for each individual model.

Full access
Shin-Gan Chen, Chun-Chieh Wu, Jan-Huey Chen, and Kun-Hsuan Chou

Abstract

The adjoint-derived sensitivity steering vector (ADSSV) has been proposed and applied as a guidance for targeted observation in the field programs for improving tropical cyclone predictability, such as The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) Pacific Asian Regional Campaign (T-PARC). The ADSSV identifies sensitive areas at the observing time to the steering flow at the verifying time through adjoint calculation. In addition, the ability of the ADSSV to represent signals of influence from synoptic systems such as the midlatitude trough and the subtropical high prior to the recurvature of Typhoon Shanshan (2006) has also been demonstrated.

In this study, the impact of initial perturbations associated with the high or low ADSSV sensitivity on model simulations is investigated by systematically perturbing initial vorticity fields in the case of Shanshan. Results show that experiments with the perturbed initial conditions located in the high ADSSV area (i.e., the midlatitude trough and the subtropical high) lead to more track deflection relative to the unperturbed control run than experiments with perturbations in the low sensitivity area. The evolutions of the deep-layer-mean steering flow and the direction of the ADSSV are compared to provide conceptual interpretation and validation on the physical meaning of the ADSSV. Concerning the results associated with the perturbed regions in high sensitivity regions, the variation of the steering flow within the verifying area due to the initial perturbations is generally consistent with that of the direction of the ADSSV. In addition, the bifurcation between the ADSSV and the steering change becomes larger with the increased integration time. However, the result for the perturbed region in the low-sensitivity region indicates that the steering change does not have good agreement with the ADSSV. The large initial perturbations to the low-sensitivity region may interact with the trough to the north due to the nonlinearity, which may not be accounted for in the ADSSV. Furthermore, the effect of perturbations specifically within the sensitive vertical layers is investigated to validate the vertical structure of the ADSSV. The structure of kinetic energy shows that the perturbation associated with the trough (subtropical high) specifically in the mid-to-upper (mid-to-lower) troposphere evolves similarly to that in the deep-layer troposphere, leading to comparable track changes. A sensitivity test in which perturbations are locally introduced in a higher-sensitivity area is conducted to examine the different impact as compared to that perturbed with the broader synoptic feature.

Full access
Sim D. Aberson

Abstract

In 1997, the National Hurricane Center and the Hurricane Research Division began operational synoptic surveillance missions with the Gulfstream IV-SP jet aircraft to improve the numerical guidance for hurricanes that threaten the continental United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Hawaii. During the first 10 yr, 176 such missions were conducted. Global Positioning System dropwindsondes were released from the aircraft at 150–200-km intervals along the flight track in the environment of each tropical cyclone to obtain wind, temperature, and humidity profiles from flight level (about 150 hPa) to the surface. The observations were processed and formatted aboard the aircraft and sent to the National Centers for Environmental Prediction and the Global Telecommunications System to be ingested into the Global Forecast System, which serves as initial and boundary conditions for regional numerical models that also forecast tropical cyclone track and intensity. The results of an observing system experiment using these data are presented.

Full access
Mark Buehner, P. L. Houtekamer, Cecilien Charette, Herschel L. Mitchell, and Bin He

Abstract

An intercomparison of the Environment Canada variational and ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) data assimilation systems is presented in the context of global deterministic NWP. In an EnKF experiment having the same spatial resolution as the inner loop in the four-dimensional variational data assimilation system (4D-Var), the mean of each analysis ensemble is used to initialize the higher-resolution deterministic forecasts. Five different variational data assimilation experiments are also conducted. These include both 4D-Var and 3D-Var (with first guess at appropriate time) experiments using either (i) prescribed background-error covariances similar to those used operationally, which are static in time and include horizontally homogeneous and isotropic correlations; or (ii) flow-dependent covariances computed from the EnKF background ensembles with spatial covariance localization applied. The fifth variational data assimilation experiment is a new approach called the Ensemble-4D-Var (En-4D-Var). This approach uses 4D flow-dependent background-error covariances estimated from EnKF ensembles to produce a 4D analysis without the need for tangent-linear or adjoint versions of the forecast model. In this first part of a two-part paper, results from a series of idealized assimilation experiments are presented. In these experiments, only a single observation or vertical profile of observations is assimilated to explore the impact of various fundamental differences among the EnKF and the various variational data assimilation approaches considered. In particular, differences in the application of covariance localization in the EnKF and variational approaches are shown to have a significant impact on the assimilation of satellite radiance observations. The results also demonstrate that 4D-Var and the EnKF can both produce similar 4D background-error covariances within a 6-h assimilation window. In the second part, results from medium-range deterministic forecasts for the study period of February 2007 are presented for the EnKF and the five variational data assimilation approaches considered.

Full access
Ryan D. Torn and Gregory J. Hakim

Abstract

An ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) based on the Weather Research and Forecasting model is applied to generate ensemble analyses and forecasts of Hurricane Katrina (2005) and the surrounding area every 6 h over the lifetime of the storm on a nested domain. Analyses are derived from assimilating conventional in situ observations, reconnaissance dropsondes, including data taken during the Hurricane Rainband and Intensity Exchange Experiment (RAINEX), and tropical cyclone position estimates. Observation assimilation at individual times consistently reduces errors in tropical cyclone position, but not necessarily in intensity; however, withholding observations leads to significantly larger errors in both quantities. Analysis increments for observations near the tropical cyclone are dominated by changes in vortex position, and these increments increase the asymmetric structure of the storm. Data denial experiments indicate that dropsondes deployed in the synoptic environment provide minimal benefit to the outer domain; however, dropsondes deployed within the tropical cyclone lead to significant reductions in position and intensity errors on the inner domain. Specifically, errors in the inner domain ensemble-mean 6-h forecasts of minimum pressure are 70% larger when dropsonde data is not assimilated. Precipitation fields are qualitatively similar to Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite estimates, although model values are double the values of the satellite estimate. Moreover, the spinup period and initial imbalance in EnKF-initialized WRF forecasts is less than starting the model from a GFS analysis. Ensemble-mean 48-h forecasts initialized with EnKF analyses have track and intensity errors that are 50% smaller than GFS and NHC official forecasts.

Full access
Munehiko Yamaguchi, Takeshi Iriguchi, Tetsuo Nakazawa, and Chun-Chieh Wu

Abstract

An Observing System Experiment (OSE) has been performed to investigate the effectiveness of dropwindsonde observations and a sensitivity analysis technique on a typhoon track forecast. Using dropwindsonde observations for Typhoon Conson at 1200 UTC 8 June 2004, which are derived from Dropwindsonde Observation for Typhoon Surveillance near the Taiwan Region (DOTSTAR), four numerical experiments are conducted, which are different only in terms of the number of dropwindsonde observations used in a data assimilation system: (i) no observation is assimilated; (ii) all observations are assimilated; (iii) observations within a sensitive region as revealed by a singular vector method at the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) are assimilated; and (iv) observations outside the sensitive region are assimilated. In the comparison of the four track forecasts, Conson’s northeastward movement is expressed in the second and third simulations while in the first and fourth experiments Conson stays at almost the same position as its initial position. Through the OSE, it is found that DOTSTAR observations had a positive impact on the track forecast for Conson, and that observations within the sensitive region are enough to predict the northeastward movement of Conson, indicating that the JMA singular vector method would be useful for the sampling strategy of targeted observations like DOTSTAR.

Full access
Chun-Chieh Wu, Jan-Huey Chen, Sharanya J. Majumdar, Melinda S. Peng, Carolyn A. Reynolds, Sim D. Aberson, Roberto Buizza, Munehiko Yamaguchi, Shin-Gan Chen, Tetsuo Nakazawa, and Kun-Hsuan Chou

Abstract

This study compares six different guidance products for targeted observations over the northwest Pacific Ocean for 84 cases of 2-day forecasts in 2006 and highlights the unique dynamical features affecting the tropical cyclone (TC) tracks in this basin. The six products include three types of guidance based on total-energy singular vectors (TESVs) from different global models, the ensemble transform Kalman filter (ETKF) based on a multimodel ensemble, the deep-layer mean (DLM) wind variance, and the adjoint-derived sensitivity steering vector (ADSSV). The similarities among the six products are evaluated using two objective statistical techniques to show the diversity of the sensitivity regions in large, synoptic-scale domains and in smaller domains local to the TC. It is shown that the three TESVs are relatively similar to one another in both the large and the small domains while the comparisons of the DLM wind variance with other methods show rather low similarities. The ETKF and the ADSSV usually show high similarity because their optimal sensitivity usually lies close to the TC. The ADSSV, relative to the ETKF, reveals more similar sensitivity patterns to those associated with TESVs. Three special cases are also selected to highlight the similarities and differences among the six guidance products and to interpret the dynamical systems affecting the TC motion in the northwestern Pacific. Among the three storms studied, Typhoon Chanchu was associated with the subtropical high, Typhoon Shanshan was associated with the midlatitude trough, and Typhoon Durian was associated with the subtropical jet. The adjoint methods are found to be more capable of capturing the signal of the dynamic system that may affect the TC movement or evolution than are the ensemble methods.

Full access