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Christopher A. Davis, David A. Ahijevych, Wei Wang, and William C. Skamarock

Abstract

An evaluation of medium-range forecasts of tropical cyclones (TCs) is performed, covering the eastern North Pacific basin during the period 1 August–3 November 2014. Real-time forecasts from the Model for Prediction Across Scales (MPAS) and operational forecasts from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Global Forecast System (GFS) are evaluated. A new TC-verification method is introduced that treats TC tracks as objects. The method identifies matching pairs of forecast and observed tracks, missed and false alarm tracks, and derives statistics using a multicategory contingency table methodology. The formalism includes track, intensity, and genesis.

Two configurations of MPAS, a uniform 15-km mesh and a variable-resolution mesh transitioning from 60 km globally to 15 km over the eastern Pacific, are compared with each other and with the operational GFS. The two configurations of MPAS reveal highly similar forecast skill and biases through at least day 7. This result supports the effectiveness of TC prediction using variable resolution.

Both MPAS and the GFS suffer from biases in predictions of genesis at longer time ranges; MPAS produces too many storms whereas the GFS produces too few. MPAS better discriminates hurricanes than does the GFS, but the false alarms in MPAS lower overall forecast skill in the medium range relative to GFS. The biases in MPAS forecasts are traced to errors in the parameterization of shallow convection south of the equator and the resulting erroneous invigoration of the ITCZ over the eastern North Pacific.

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Tae-Kwon Wee, Ying-Hwa Kuo, Dong-Kyou Lee, Zhiquan Liu, Wei Wang, and Shu-Ya Chen

Abstract

The authors have discovered two sizeable biases in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model: a negative bias in geopotential and a warm bias in temperature, appearing both in the initial condition and the forecast. The biases increase with height and thus manifest themselves at the upper part of the model domain. Both biases stem from a common root, which is that vertical structures of specific volume and potential temperature are convex functions. The geopotential bias is caused by the particular discrete hydrostatic equation used in WRF and is proportional to the square of the thickness of model layers. For the vertical levels used in this study, the bias far exceeds the gross 1-day forecast bias combining all other sources. The bias is fixed by revising the discrete hydrostatic equation. WRF interpolates potential temperature from the grids of an external dataset to the WRF grids in generating the initial condition. Associated with the Exner function, this leads to the marked bias in temperature. By interpolating temperature to the WRF grids and then computing potential temperature, the bias is removed. The bias corrections developed in this study are expected to reduce the disparity between the forecast and observations, and eventually to improve the quality of analysis and forecast in the subsequent data assimilation. The bias corrections might be especially beneficial to assimilating height-based observations (e.g., radio occultation data).

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Jianqiong Zhan, Wenyuan Chang, Wei Li, Yanming Wang, Liqi Chen, and Jinpei Yan

Abstract

Fujian Province in southeastern coastal China is a relatively clean region with low emissions, as its high altitude isolates it from the rest of the country. However, the region experienced haze episodes on 3–14 December 2013. The authors performed simulations using the Weather Research and Forecasting Model coupled with chemistry (WRF-Chem) to examine the impacts of meteorological conditions, aerosol radiative feedbacks (ARFs; including aerosol direct and nearly first indirect effect), and internal and external emissions reduction scenarios on particulate matter smaller than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) concentrations. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first time the WRF-Chem model has been used to study air quality in this region. The model reasonably reproduced the meteorological conditions and PM2.5 concentrations. The analysis demonstrated that the highest-PM2.5 event was associated with a cold surge that promoted the impingement of northern pollutants on the region, and PM2.5 concentrations were sensitive to the emissions from the Yangtze River delta (16.6%) and the North China Plain (12.1%). This suggests that efforts toward coastal air quality improvement require regional cooperation to reduce emissions. Noticeably, ARFs were unlikely to increase PM2.5 concentrations in the coastal region, which was in contrast to the case in northern China. ARFs induced strong clean wind anomalies in the coastal region and also lowered the inland planetary boundary layer, which enhanced the blocking of northern pollutants crossing the high terrain in the north of Fujian Province. This indicates that ARFs tend to weaken the haze intensity in the southeastern coastal region.

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Steven M. Cavallo, Ryan D. Torn, Chris Snyder, Christopher Davis, Wei Wang, and James Done

Abstract

Real-time analyses and forecasts using an ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) and the Advanced Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting Model (AHW) are evaluated from the 2009 North Atlantic hurricane season. This data assimilation system involved cycling observations that included conventional in situ data, tropical cyclone (TC) position, and minimum SLP and synoptic dropsondes each 6 h using a 96-member ensemble on a 36-km domain for three months. Similar to past studies, observation assimilation systematically reduces the TC position and minimum SLP errors, except for strong TCs, which are characterized by large biases due to grid resolution. At 48 different initialization times, an AHW forecast on 12-, 4-, and 1.33-km grids is produced with initial conditions drawn from a single analysis member. Whereas TC track analyses and forecasts exhibit a pronounced northward bias, intensity forecast errors are similar to (lower than) the NWS Hurricane Weather Research Model (HWRF) and GFDL forecasts for forecast lead times ≤60 h (>60 h), with the largest track errors associated with the weakest systems, such as Tropical Storm (TS) Erika. Several shortcomings of the data assimilation system are addressed through postseason sensitivity tests, including using the maximum 800-hPa circulation to identify the TC position during assimilation and turning off the quality control for the TC minimum SLP observation when the initial intensity is far too weak. In addition, the improved forecast of TS Erika relative to HWRF is shown to be related to having initial conditions that are more representative of a sheared TC and not using a cumulus parameterization.

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Xidong Wang, Peter C. Chu, Guijun Han, Wei Li, Xuefeng Zhang, and Dong Li

Abstract

A new, fully conserved minimal adjustment scheme with temperature and salinity (T, S) coherency is presented for eliminating false static instability generated from analyzing and assimilating stable ocean (T, S) profiles data, that is, from generalized averaging over purely observed data (data analysis) or over modeled/observed data (data assimilation). This approach consists of a variational method with (a) fully (heat, salt, and potential energy) conserved conditions, (b) minimal adjustment, and (c) (T, S) coherency. Comparison with three existing schemes (minimal adjustment, conserved minimal adjustment, and convective adjustment) using observational profiles and a simple one-dimensional ocean mixed layer model shows the superiority of this new scheme.

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Fuyao Wang, Yan Yu, Michael Notaro, Jiafu Mao, Xiaoying Shi, and Yaxing Wei

Abstract

This study advances the practicality and stability of the traditional multivariate statistical method, generalized equilibrium feedback assessment (GEFA), for decomposing the key oceanic drivers of regional atmospheric variability, especially when available data records are short. An advanced stepwise GEFA methodology is introduced, in which unimportant forcings within the forcing matrix are eliminated through stepwise selection. Method validation of stepwise GEFA is performed using the CESM, with a focused application to northern and tropical Africa (NTA). First, a statistical assessment of the atmospheric response to each primary oceanic forcing is carried out by applying stepwise GEFA to a fully coupled control run. Then, a dynamical assessment of the atmospheric response to individual oceanic forcings is performed through ensemble experiments by imposing sea surface temperature anomalies over focal ocean basins. Finally, to quantify the reliability of stepwise GEFA, the statistical assessment is evaluated against the dynamical assessment in terms of four metrics: the percentage of grid cells with consistent response sign, the spatial correlation of atmospheric response patterns, the area-averaged seasonal cycle of response magnitude, and consistency in associated mechanisms between assessments. In CESM, tropical modes, namely El Niño–Southern Oscillation and the tropical Indian Ocean Basin, tropical Indian Ocean dipole, and tropical Atlantic Niño modes, are the dominant oceanic controls of NTA climate. In complementary studies, stepwise GEFA is validated in terms of isolating terrestrial forcings on the atmosphere, and observed oceanic and terrestrial drivers of NTA climate are extracted to establish an observational benchmark for subsequent coupled model evaluation and development of process-based weights for regional climate projections.

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Morris L. Weisman, Christopher Davis, Wei Wang, Kevin W. Manning, and Joseph B. Klemp

Abstract

Herein, a summary of the authors’ experiences with 36-h real-time explicit (4 km) convective forecasts with the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF-ARW) during the 2003–05 spring and summer seasons is presented. These forecasts are compared to guidance obtained from the 12-km operational Eta Model, which employed convective parameterization (e.g., Betts–Miller–Janjić). The results suggest significant value added for the high-resolution forecasts in representing the convective system mode (e.g., for squall lines, bow echoes, mesoscale convective vortices) as well as in representing the diurnal convective cycle. However, no improvement could be documented in the overall guidance as to the timing and location of significant convective outbreaks. Perhaps the most notable result is the overall strong correspondence between the Eta and WRF-ARW guidance, for both good and bad forecasts, suggesting the overriding influence of larger scales of forcing on convective development in the 24–36-h time frame. Sensitivities to PBL, land surface, microphysics, and resolution failed to account for the more significant forecast errors (e.g., completely missing or erroneous convective systems), suggesting that further research is needed to document the source of such errors at these time scales. A systematic bias is also noted with the Yonsei University (YSU) PBL scheme, emphasizing the continuing need to refine and improve physics packages for application to these forecast problems.

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Liqi Chen, Wei Li, Jianqiong Zhan, Jianjun Wang, Yuanhui Zhang, and Xulin Yang

Abstract

To investigate the concentrations, sources, and temporal variations of atmospheric black carbon (BC) in the summer Arctic, routine ground-level observations of BC by optical absorption were made in the summer from 2005 to 2008 at the Chinese Arctic “Yellow River” Station (78°55′N, 11°56′E) at Ny-Ålesund on the island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard Archipelago. Methods of the ensemble empirical-mode decomposition analysis and back-trajectory analysis were employed to assess temporal variation embedded in the BC datasets and airmass transport patterns. The 10th-percentile and median values of BC concentrations were 7.2 and 14.6 ng m−3, respectively, and hourly average BC concentrations ranged from 2.5 to 54.6 ng m−3. A gradual increase was found by 4 ng m−3 a−1. This increase was not seen in the Zeppelin Station and it seemed to contrast with the prevalent conception of generally decreasing BC concentration since 1989 in the Arctic. Factors responsible for this increase such as changes in emissions and atmospheric transport were taken into consideration. The result indicated that BC from local emissions was mostly responsible for the observed increase from 2005 to 2008. BC temporal variation in the summer was controlled by the atmospheric circulation, which presented a significant 6–14-day variation and coherent with 1–3- and 2–5-day and longer cycle variation. Although the atmospheric circulation changes from 2005 to 2008, there was not a marked trend in long-range transportation of BC. This study suggested that local emissions might have significant implication for the regional radiative energy balance at Ny-Ålesund.

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Chun-Chieh Wu, Tzu-Hsiung Yen, Ying-Hwa Kuo, and Wei Wang

Abstract

In this study, a series of numerical experiments are performed to examine the ability of a high-resolution mesoscale model to predict the track, intensity change, and detailed mesoscale precipitation distributions associated with Typhoon Herb (1996), which made landfall over Taiwan. The fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model (MM5), with a 2.2-km horizontal grid spacing, successfully simulates the mesoscale rainfall distribution associated with Herb, and the predicted maximum 24-h rainfall of 1199 mm accounts for about 70% of the observed amount of 1736 mm at Mount A-Li. It is shown that, with an accurate track simulation, the ability of the model to simulate successfully the observed rainfall is dependent on two factors: the model's horizontal grid spacing and its ability to describe the Taiwan terrain. The existence of the Central Mountain Range has only a minor impact on the storm track, but it plays a key role in substantially increasing the total rainfall amounts over Taiwan. The analysis presented here shows that the model and terrain resolutions play a nearly equivalent role in the heavy precipitation over Mount A-Li. The presence of maximum vertical motion and heating rate in the lower troposphere, above the upslope mountainous region, is a significant feature of forced lifting associated with the interaction of the typhoon's circulation and Taiwan's mountainous terrain. Overall, Typhoon Herb is a case in point to indicate the intimate relation between Taiwan's topography and the rainfall distribution associated with a typhoon at landfall.

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Thomas R. Karl, Wei-Chyung Wang, Michael E. Schlesinger, Richard W. Knight, and David Portman

Abstract

Important surface observations such as the daily maximum and minimum temperature, daily precipitation, and cloud ceilings often have localized characteristics that are difficult to reproduce with the current resolution and the physical parameterizations in state-of-the-art General Circulation climate Models (GCMs). Many of the difficulties can be partially attributed to mismatches in scale, local topography. regional geography and boundary conditions between models and surface-based observations. Here, we present a method, called climatological projection by model statistics (CPMS), to relate GCM grid-point flee-atmosphere statistics, the predictors, to these important local surface observations. The method can be viewed as a generalization of the model output statistics (MOS) and perfect prog (PP) procedures used in numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. It consists of the application of three statistical methods: 1) principle component analysis (FICA), 2) canonical correlation, and 3) inflated regression analysis. The PCA reduces the redundancy of the predictors The canonical correlation is used to develop simultaneous relationships between linear combinations of the predictors, the canonical variables, and the surface-based observations. Finally, inflated regression is used to relate the important canonical variables to each of the surface-based observed variables.

We demonstrate that even an early version of the Oregon State University two-level atmospheric GCM (with prescribed sea surface temperature) produces free-atmosphere statistics than can, when standardized using the model's internal means and variances (the MOS-like version of CPMS), closely approximate the observed local climate. When the model data are standardized by the observed free-atmosphere means and variances (the PP version of CPMS), however, the model does not reproduce the observed surface climate as well. Our results indicate that in the MOS-like version of CPMS the differences between the output of a ten-year GCM control run and the surface-based observations are often smaller than the differences between the observations of two ten-year periods. Such positive results suggest that GCMs may already contain important climatological information that can be used to infer the local climate.

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