Search Results

You are looking at 11 - 20 of 39 items for

  • Author or Editor: Eric P. James x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Eric M. Kemp
,
Jerry W. Wegiel
,
Sujay V. Kumar
,
James V. Geiger
,
David M. Mocko
,
Jossy P. Jacob
, and
Christa D. Peters-Lidard

Abstract

This article describes a new precipitation analysis algorithm developed by NASA for time-sensitive operations at the United States Air Force. Implemented as part of the Land Information System—a land modeling and data assimilation software framework—this NASA–Air Force Precipitation Analysis (NAFPA) combines numerical weather prediction model outputs with rain gauge measurements and satellite estimates to produce global, gridded 3-h accumulated precipitation fields at approximately 10-km resolution. Input observations are subjected to quality control checks before being used by the Bratseth analysis algorithm that converges to optimal interpolation. NAFPA assimilates up to 3.5 million observations without artificial data thinning or selection. To evaluate this new approach, a multiyear reanalysis is generated and intercompared with eight alternative precipitation products across the contiguous United States, Africa, and the monsoon region of eastern Asia. NAFPA yields superior accuracy and correlation over low-latency (up to 14 h) alternatives (numerical weather prediction and satellite retrievals), and often outperforms high-latency (up to 3.5 months) products, although the details for the latter vary by region and product. The development of NAFPA offers a high-quality, near-real-time product for use in meteorological, land surface, and hydrological research and applications.

Significance Statement

Precipitation is a key input to land modeling systems due to effects on soil moisture and other parts of the hydrologic cycle. It is also of interest to government decision-makers due to impacts on human activities. Here we present a new precipitation analysis based on available near-real-time data. By running the program for prior years and comparing with alternative products, we demonstrate that our analysis provides better accuracy and usually less bias than near-real-time satellite data alone, and better accuracy and correlation than data provided by numerical weather models. Our analysis is also competitive with other products created months after the fact, justifying confidence in using our analysis in near-real-time operations.

Full access
David S. Trossman
,
Brian K. Arbic
,
David N. Straub
,
James G. Richman
,
Eric P. Chassignet
,
Alan J. Wallcraft
, and
Xiaobiao Xu

Abstract

Motivated by the substantial sensitivity of eddies in two-layer quasigeostrophic (QG) turbulence models to the strength of bottom drag, this study explores the sensitivity of eddies in more realistic ocean general circulation model (OGCM) simulations to bottom drag strength. The OGCM results are interpreted using previous results from horizontally homogeneous, two-layer, flat-bottom, f-plane, doubly periodic QG turbulence simulations and new results from two-layer, β-plane QG turbulence simulations run in a basin geometry with both flat and rough bottoms. Baroclinicity in all of the simulations varies greatly with drag strength, with weak drag corresponding to more barotropic flow and strong drag corresponding to more baroclinic flow. The sensitivity of the baroclinicity in the QG basin simulations to bottom drag is considerably reduced, however, when rough topography is used in lieu of a flat bottom. Rough topography reduces the sensitivity of the eddy kinetic energy amplitude and horizontal length scales in the QG basin simulations to bottom drag to an even greater degree. The OGCM simulation behavior is qualitatively similar to that in the QG rough-bottom basin simulations, in that baroclinicity is more sensitive to bottom drag strength than are eddy amplitudes or horizontal length scales. Rough topography therefore appears to mediate the sensitivity of eddies in models to the strength of bottom drag. The sensitivity of eddies to parameterized topographic internal lee wave drag, which has recently been introduced into some OGCMs, is also briefly discussed. Wave drag acts like a strong bottom drag in that it increases the baroclinicity of the flow, without strongly affecting eddy horizontal length scales.

Full access
Tom H. Zapotocny
,
Steven J. Nieman
,
W. Paul Menzel
,
James P. Nelson III
,
James A. Jung
,
Eric Rogers
,
David F. Parrish
,
Geoffrey J. DiMego
,
Michael Baldwin
, and
Timothy J. Schmit

Abstract

A case study is utilized to determine the sensitivity of the Eta Data Assimilation System (EDAS) to all operational observational data types used within it. The work described in this paper should be of interest to Eta Model users trying to identify the impact of each data type and could benefit other modelers trying to use EDAS analyses and forecasts as initial conditions for other models.

The case study chosen is one characterized by strong Atlantic and Pacific maritime cyclogenesis, and is shortly after the EDAS began using three-dimensional variational analysis. The control run of the EDAS utilizes all 34 of the operational data types. One of these data types is then denied for each of the subsequent experimental runs. Differences between the experimental and control runs are analyzed to demonstrate the sensitivity of the EDAS system to each data type for the analysis and subsequent 48-h forecasts. Results show the necessity of various nonconventional observation types, such as aircraft data, satellite precipitable water, and cloud drift winds. These data types are demonstrated to have a significant impact, especially observations in maritime regions.

Full access
Ayumi Fujisaki-Manome
,
Greg E. Mann
,
Eric J. Anderson
,
Philip Y. Chu
,
Lindsay E. Fitzpatrick
,
Stanley G. Benjamin
,
Eric P. James
,
Tatiana G. Smirnova
,
Curtis R. Alexander
, and
David M. Wright

Abstract

Lake-effect convective snowstorms frequently produce high-impact, hazardous winter weather conditions downwind of the North American Great Lakes. During lake-effect snow events, the lake surfaces can cool rapidly, and in some cases, notable development of ice cover occurs. Such rapid changes in the lake-surface conditions are not accounted for in existing operational weather forecast models, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model, resulting in reduced performance of lake-effect snow forecasts. As a milestone to future implementations in the Great Lakes Operational Forecast System (GLOFS) and HRRR, this study examines the one-way linkage between the hydrodynamic-ice model [the Finite-Volume Community Ocean Model coupled with the unstructured grid version of the Los Alamos Sea Ice Model (FVCOM-CICE), the physical core model of GLOFS] and the atmospheric model [the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model, the physical core model of HRRR]. The realistic representation of lake-surface cooling and ice development or its fractional coverage during three lake-effect snow events was achieved by feeding the FVCOM-CICE simulated lake-surface conditions to WRF (using a regional configuration of HRRR), resulting in the improved simulation of the turbulent heat fluxes over the lakes and resulting snow water equivalent in the downwind areas. This study shows that the one-way coupling is a practical approach that is well suited to the operational environment, as it requires little to no increase in computational resources yet can result in improved forecasts of regional weather and lake conditions.

Open access
Stanley G. Benjamin
,
Tatiana G. Smirnova
,
Eric P. James
,
Liao-Fan Lin
,
Ming Hu
,
David D. Turner
, and
Siwei He

Abstract

Initialization methods are needed for geophysical components of Earth system prediction models. These methods are needed from medium-range to decadal predictions and also for short-range Earth system forecasts in support of safety (e.g., severe weather), economic (e.g., energy), and other applications. Strongly coupled land–atmosphere data assimilation (SCDA), producing balanced initial conditions across the land–atmosphere components, has not yet been introduced to operational numerical weather prediction (NWP) systems. Most NWP systems have evolved separate data assimilation (DA) procedures for the atmosphere versus land/snow system components. This separated method has been classified as a weakly coupled DA system (WCDA). In the NOAA operational short-range weather models, a moderately coupled land–snow–atmosphere assimilation method (MCLDA) has been implemented, a step forward from WCDA toward SCDA. The atmosphere and land (including snow) variables are both updated within the DA using the same set of observations (aircraft, radiosonde, satellite radiances, surface, etc.). Using this assimilation method, land surface state variables have cycled continuously for 6 years since 2015 for the 3-km NOAA HRRR model and with CONUS cycling since 1997. Month-long experiments were conducted with and without MCLDA for both winter and summer seasons using the 13-km Rapid Refresh model with atmosphere (50 levels), soil (9 levels), and snow (up to 2 layers if present) on the same horizontal grid. Improvements were evident for 2-m temperature for all times of day out to 6–12 h for both seasons but stronger in winter. Better temperature forecasts were also shown in the 1000–900-hPa layer corresponding roughly to the boundary layer.

Significance Statement

Accuracy of weather models depends on accurate initial conditions for soil temperature and moisture as well as for the atmosphere itself. This paper describes a moderately coupled data assimilation method that modifies soil conditions based on forecast error corrections indicated by atmospheric observations. This method has been tested for a month-long period in summer and winter and shown to consistently improve short-range forecasts of 2-m temperature and moisture. This coupled data assimilation method is used already in NOAA operational short-range models to improve its prediction skill for clouds, convective storms, and general weather conditions.

Open access
Stephen S. Weygandt
,
Stanley G. Benjamin
,
Ming Hu
,
Curtis R. Alexander
,
Tatiana G. Smirnova
, and
Eric P. James

Abstract

A technique for model initialization using three-dimensional radar reflectivity data has been developed and applied within the NOAA 13-km Rapid Refresh (RAP) and 3-km High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) regional forecast systems. This technique enabled the first assimilation of radar reflectivity data for operational NOAA forecast models, critical especially for more accurate short-range prediction of convective storms. For the RAP, the technique uses a diabatic digital filter initialization (DFI) procedure originally deployed to control initial inertial gravity wave noise. Within the forward-model integration portion of diabatic DFI, temperature tendencies obtained from the model cloud/precipitation processes are replaced by specified latent heating–based temperature tendencies derived from the three-dimensional radar reflectivity data, where available. To further refine initial conditions for the convection-allowing HRRR model, a similar procedure is used in the HRRR, but without DFI. Both of these procedures, together called the “Radar-LHI” (latent heating initialization) technique, have been essential for initialization of ongoing precipitation systems, especially convective systems, within all NOAA operational versions of the 13-km RAP and 3-km HRRR models extending through the latest implementation upgrade at NCEP in 2020. Application of the latent heat–derived temperature tendency induces a vertical circulation with low-level convergence and upper-level divergence in precipitation systems. Retrospective tests of the Radar-LHI technique show significant improvement in short-range (0–6 h) precipitation system forecasts, as revealed by reflectivity verification scores. Results presented document the impact on HRRR reflectivity forecasts of the radar reflectivity initialization technique applied to the RAP alone, HRRR alone, and both the RAP and HRRR.

Significance Statement

The large forecast uncertainty of convective situations, even at short lead times, coupled with the hazardous weather they produce, makes convective storm prediction one of the most significant short-range forecast challenges confronting the operational numerical weather prediction community. Prediction of heavy precipitation events also requires accurate initialization of precipitation systems. An innovative assimilation technique using radar reflectivity data to initialize NOAA operational weather prediction models is described. This technique, which uses latent heating specified from radar reflectivity (and can accommodate lightning data and other convection/precipitation indicators), was first implemented in 2009 at NOAA/NCEP and continues to be used in 2022 in the NCEP-operational RAP and HRRR models, making it a backbone of the NOAA rapidly updated numerical weather prediction capability.

Open access
John L. Beven II
,
Lixion A. Avila
,
Eric S. Blake
,
Daniel P. Brown
,
James L. Franklin
,
Richard D. Knabb
,
Richard J. Pasch
,
Jamie R. Rhome
, and
Stacy R. Stewart

Abstract

The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active of record. Twenty-eight storms occurred, including 27 tropical storms and one subtropical storm. Fifteen of the storms became hurricanes, and seven of these became major hurricanes. Additionally, there were two tropical depressions and one subtropical depression. Numerous records for single-season activity were set, including most storms, most hurricanes, and highest accumulated cyclone energy index. Five hurricanes and two tropical storms made landfall in the United States, including four major hurricanes. Eight other cyclones made landfall elsewhere in the basin, and five systems that did not make landfall nonetheless impacted land areas. The 2005 storms directly caused nearly 1700 deaths. This includes approximately 1500 in the United States from Hurricane Katrina—the deadliest U.S. hurricane since 1928. The storms also caused well over $100 billion in damages in the United States alone, making 2005 the costliest hurricane season of record.

Full access
Richard J. Pasch
,
Eric S. Blake
,
Lixion A. Avila
,
John L. Beven
,
Daniel P. Brown
,
James L. Franklin
,
Richard D. Knabb
,
Michelle M. Mainelli
,
Jamie R. Rhome
, and
Stacy R. Stewart

Abstract

The hurricane season of 2006 in the eastern North Pacific basin is summarized, and the individual tropical cyclones are described. Also, the official track and intensity forecasts of these cyclones are verified and evaluated. The 2006 eastern North Pacific season was an active one, in which 18 tropical storms formed. Of these, 10 became hurricanes and 5 became major hurricanes. A total of 2 hurricanes and 1 tropical depression made landfall in Mexico, causing 13 direct deaths in that country along with significant property damage. On average, the official track forecasts in the eastern Pacific for 2006 were quite skillful. No appreciable improvement in mean intensity forecasts was noted, however.

Full access
William J. Shaw
,
Larry K. Berg
,
Joel Cline
,
Caroline Draxl
,
Irina Djalalova
,
Eric P. Grimit
,
Julie K. Lundquist
,
Melinda Marquis
,
Jim McCaa
,
Joseph B. Olson
,
Chitra Sivaraman
,
Justin Sharp
, and
James M. Wilczak

Abstract

In 2015 the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) initiated a 4-yr study, the Second Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP2), to improve the representation of boundary layer physics and related processes in mesoscale models for better treatment of scales applicable to wind and wind power forecasts. This goal challenges numerical weather prediction (NWP) models in complex terrain in large part because of inherent assumptions underlying their boundary layer parameterizations. The WFIP2 effort involved the wind industry, universities, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the DOE’s national laboratories in an integrated observational and modeling study. Observations spanned 18 months to assure a full annual cycle of continuously recorded observations from remote sensing and in situ measurement systems. The study area comprised the Columbia basin of eastern Washington and Oregon, containing more than 6 GW of installed wind capacity. Nests of observational systems captured important atmospheric scales from mesoscale to NWP subgrid scale. Model improvements targeted NOAA’s High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model to facilitate transfer of improvements to National Weather Service (NWS) operational forecast models, and these modifications have already yielded quantitative improvements for the short-term operational forecasts. This paper describes the general WFIP2 scope and objectives, the particular scientific challenges of improving wind forecasts in complex terrain, early successes of the project, and an integrated approach to archiving observations and model output. It provides an introduction for a set of more detailed BAMS papers addressing WFIP2 observational science, modeling challenges and solutions, incorporation of forecasting uncertainty into decision support tools for the wind industry, and advances in coupling improved mesoscale models to microscale models that can represent interactions between wind plants and the atmosphere.

Full access
Stanley G. Benjamin
,
Eric P. James
,
Ming Hu
,
Curtis R. Alexander
,
Therese T. Ladwig
,
John M. Brown
,
Stephen S. Weygandt
,
David D. Turner
,
Patrick Minnis
,
William L. Smith Jr.
, and
Andrew K. Heidinger

Abstract

Accurate cloud and precipitation forecasts are a fundamental component of short-range data assimilation/model prediction systems such as the NOAA 3-km High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) or the 13-km Rapid Refresh (RAP). To reduce cloud and precipitation spinup problems, a nonvariational assimilation technique for stratiform clouds was developed within the Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation (GSI) data assimilation system. One goal of this technique is retention of observed stratiform cloudy and clear 3D volumes into the subsequent model forecast. The cloud observations used include cloud-top data from satellite brightness temperatures, surface-based ceilometer data, and surface visibility. Quality control, expansion into spatial information content, and forward operators are described for each observation type. The projection of data from these observation types into an observation-based cloud-information 3D gridded field is accomplished via identification of cloudy, clear, and cloud-unknown 3D volumes. Updating of forecast background fields is accomplished through clearing and building of cloud water and cloud ice with associated modifications to water vapor and temperature. Impact of the cloud assimilation on short-range forecasts is assessed with a set of retrospective experiments in warm and cold seasons using the RAPv5 model. Short-range (1–9 h) forecast skill is improved in both seasons for cloud ceiling and visibility and for 2-m temperature in daytime and with mixed results for other measures. Two modifications were introduced and tested with success: use of prognostic subgrid-scale cloud fraction to condition cloud building (in response to a high bias) and removal of a WRF-based rebalancing.

Open access