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  • Author or Editor: George H. Bryan x
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Kyle M. Nardi
,
Colin M. Zarzycki
,
Vincent E. Larson
, and
George H. Bryan

Abstract

Recent studies have demonstrated that high-resolution (∼25 km) Earth System Models (ESMs) have the potential to skillfully predict tropical cyclone (TC) occurrence and intensity. However, biases in ESM TCs still exist, largely due to the need to parameterize processes such as boundary layer (PBL) turbulence. Building on past studies, we hypothesize that the depiction of the TC PBL in ESMs is sensitive to the configuration of the PBL parameterization scheme, and that the targeted perturbation of tunable parameters can reduce biases. The Morris one-at-a-time (MOAT) method is implemented to assess the sensitivity of the TC PBL to tunable parameters in the PBL scheme in an idealized configuration of the Community Atmosphere Model, version 6 (CAM6). The MOAT method objectively identifies several parameters in an experimental version of the Cloud Layers Unified by Binormals (CLUBB) scheme that appreciably influence the structure of the TC PBL. We then perturb the parameters identified by the MOAT method within a suite of CAM6 ensemble simulations and find a reduction in model biases compared to observations and a high-resolution, cloud-resolving model. We demonstrate that the high-sensitivity parameters are tied to PBL processes that reduce turbulent mixing and effective eddy diffusivity, and that in CAM6 these parameters alter the TC PBL in a manner consistent with past modeling studies. In this way, we provide an initial identification of process-based input parameters that, when altered, have the potential to improve TC predictions by ESMs.

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Nathan A. Dahl
,
David S. Nolan
,
George H. Bryan
, and
Richard Rotunno

Abstract

Large-eddy simulations are used to produce realistic, high-resolution depictions of near-surface winds in translating tornadoes. The translation speed, swirl ratio, and vertical forcing are varied to provide a range of vortex intensities and structural types. Observation experiments are then performed in which the tornadoes are passed over groups of simulated sensors. Some of the experiments use indestructible, error-free anemometers while others limit the range of observable wind speeds to mimic the characteristics of damage indicators specified in the enhanced Fujita (EF) scale. Also, in some of the experiments the sensors are randomly placed while in others they are positioned in regularly spaced columns perpendicular to the vortex tracks to mimic field project deployments.

Statistical analysis of the results provides quantitative insight into the limitations of tornado intensity estimates based on damage surveys or in situ measurements in rural or semirural areas. The mean negative bias relative to the “true” global maximum 3-s gust at 10 m AGL (the standard for EF ratings) exceeds 10 m s−1 in all cases and 45 m s−1 in some cases. A small number of sensors are generally sufficient to provide a good approximation of the running time-mean maximum during the period of observation, although the required spatial resolution of the sensor group is still substantially higher than that previously attained by any field program. Because of model limitations and simplifying assumptions, these results are regarded as a lower bound for tornado intensity underestimates in rural and semirural areas and provide a baseline for further inquiry.

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Daniel P. Stern
,
George H. Bryan
,
Chia-Ying Lee
, and
James D. Doyle

Abstract

Recent studies have shown that extreme wind gusts are ubiquitous within the eyewall of intense tropical cyclones (TCs). These gusts pose a substantial hazard to human life and property, but both the short-term (i.e., during the passage of a single TC) and long-term (over many years) risk of encountering such a gust at a given location is poorly understood. Here, simulated tower data from large-eddy simulations of idealized TCs in a quiescent (i.e., no mean flow or vertical wind shear) environment are used to estimate these risks for the offshore region of the United States. For both a category 5 TC and a category 3 TC, there is a radial region where nearly all simulated towers experience near-surface (the lowest 200 m) 3-s gusts exceeding 70 m s−1 within a 10-min period; on average, these towers respectively sample peak 3-s gusts of 110 and 80 m s−1. Analysis of an observational dropsonde database supports the idealized simulations, and indicates that offshore structures (such as wind turbines) in the eyewall of a major hurricane are likely to encounter damaging wind speeds. This result is then incorporated into an estimate of the long-term risk, using analyses of the return period for major hurricanes from both a best-track database and a statistical–dynamical model forced by reanalysis. For much of the nearshore region of the Gulf of Mexico and southeastern U.S. coasts, this analysis yields an estimate of a 30%–60% probability of any given point experiencing at least one 70 m s−1 gust within a 30-yr period.

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