Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 9 of 9 items for :

  • Author or Editor: Harold E. Brooks x
  • Monthly Weather Review x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Harold E. Brooks
and
David J. Stensrud

Abstract

Flash flooding is frequently associated with heavy precipitation (defined here as ≥1 in. h−1) occurring over a short period of time. To begin a study of flash flood–producing rain events, the Hourly Precipitation Dataset (HPD) is used to develop a climatology of heavy rains on timescales of 3 h or less across the contiguous United States. Analyses of this dataset show a distinct seasonal cycle in the distribution of heavy rain events that begins along the Gulf Coast and expands into the midwestern states during the summer. This general evolution is very similar to that observed for flash floods, suggesting that the HPD can help in defining the climatological threat for flash floods.

Full access
Mateusz Taszarek
and
Harold E. Brooks

Abstract

Very few studies on the occurrence of tornadoes in Poland have been performed and, therefore, their temporal and spatial variability have not been well understood. This article describes an updated climatology of tornadoes in Poland and the major problems related to the database. In this study, the results of an investigation of tornado occurrence in a 100-yr historical record (1899–1998) and a more recent 15-yr observational dataset (1999–2013) are presented. A total of 269 tornado cases derived from the European Severe Weather Database are used in the analysis. The cases are divided according to their strength on the F scale with weak tornadoes (unrated/F0/F1; 169 cases), significant tornadoes (F2/F3/F4; 66 cases), and waterspouts (34 cases). The tornado season extends from May to September (84% of all cases) with the seasonal peak for tornadoes occurring over land in July (23% of all land cases) and waterspouts in August (50% of all waterspouts). On average 8–14 tornadoes (including 2–3 waterspouts) with 2 strong tornadoes occur each year and 1 violent one occurs every 12–19 years. The maximum daily probability for weak and significant tornadoes occurs between 1500 and 1800 UTC while it occurs between 0900 and 1200 UTC for waterspouts. Tornadoes over land are most likely to occur in the south-central part of the country known as the “Polish Tornado Alley.” Cases of strong, and even violent, tornadoes that caused deaths indicate that the possibility of a large-fatality tornado in Poland cannot be ignored.

Full access
Mateusz Taszarek
,
Harold E. Brooks
, and
Bartosz Czernecki

Abstract

Observed proximity soundings from Europe are used to highlight how well environmental parameters discriminate different kind of severe thunderstorm hazards. In addition, the skill of parameters in predicting lightning and waterspouts is also tested. The research area concentrates on central and western European countries and the years 2009–15. In total, 45 677 soundings are analyzed including 169 associated with extremely severe thunderstorms, 1754 with severe thunderstorms, 8361 with nonsevere thunderstorms, and 35 393 cases with nonzero convective available potential energy (CAPE) that had no thunderstorms. Results indicate that the occurrence of lightning is mainly a function of CAPE and is more likely when the temperature of the equilibrium level drops below −10°C. The probability for large hail is maximized with high values of boundary layer moisture, steep mid- and low-level lapse rates, and high lifting condensation level. The size of hail is mainly dependent on the deep layer shear (DLS) in a moderate to high CAPE environment. The likelihood of tornadoes increases along with increasing CAPE, DLS, and 0–1-km storm-relative helicity. Severe wind events are the most common in high vertical wind shear and steep low-level lapse rates. The probability for waterspouts is maximized in weak vertical wind shear and steep low-level lapse rates. Wind shear in the 0–3-km layer is the best at distinguishing between severe and extremely severe thunderstorms producing tornadoes and convective wind gusts. A parameter WMAXSHEAR multiplying square root of 2 times CAPE (WMAX) and DLS turned out to be the best in distinguishing between nonsevere and severe thunderstorms, and for assessing the severity of convective phenomena.

Full access
Harold E. Brooks
,
Charles A. Doswell III
, and
Robert B. Wilhelmson

Abstract

Using a three-dimensional numerical model, supercell simulations initialized in environments characterized by hodographs with large curvature in the lowest 3 km and a range of linear midlevel shears are investigated. For low values of the midlevel shear (0.005 s−1), the storm develops a mesocyclone at the lowest model level within the first hour of the simulation. The gust front starts to move ahead of the main updraft and cuts off the inflow to the storm by approximately 2 h, resulting in decay of the initial storm and growth of a new rotating storm on the outflow. As the midlevel shear increases to approximately 0.010 s−1, the initial development of the low-level mesocyclone is delayed, but the mesocyclone that develops is more persistent, lasting for over 2 h. Further increases of the shear to 0.015 s−1 result in the suppression of any low-level mesocyclone, despite the presence of intense rotation at midlevels of the storm.

We hypothesize that differences in the distribution of precipitation within the storms, resulting from the changes in storm-relative winds, are responsible for the changes in low-level mesocyclone development. In the weak-shear regime, storm-relative midlevel winds are weak and much of the rain is carded by the midlevel mesocyclonic flow to fall west of the updraft. As this rain evaporates, baroclinic generation of vorticity in the downdraft leads to mesocyclogenesis at low levels of the storm. The outflow from the cold air associated with the rain eventually undercuts the inflow to the storm. As the midlevel shear increases, the storm-relative winds increase and more of the rain generated by the storm falls well away from the updraft. As a result, baroclinic generation of vorticity in the downdraft immediately west of the updraft is slower. Once a low-level mesocyclone is generated, however, the weaker outflow allows the mesocyclone to persist.

Full access
Nathan M. Hitchens
,
Harold E. Brooks
, and
Russ S. Schumacher

Abstract

The climatology of heavy rain events from hourly precipitation observations by Brooks and Stensrud is revisited in this study using two high-resolution precipitation datasets that incorporate both gauge observations and radar estimates. Analyses show a seasonal cycle of heavy rain events originating along the Gulf Coast and expanding across the eastern two-thirds of the United States by the summer, comparing well to previous findings. The frequency of extreme events is estimated, and may provide improvements over prior results due to both the increased spatial resolution of these data and improved techniques used in the estimation. The diurnal cycle of heavy rainfall is also examined, showing distinct differences in the strength of the cycle between seasons.

Full access
Jenni Rauhala
,
Harold E. Brooks
, and
David M. Schultz

Abstract

A tornado climatology for Finland is constructed from 1796 to 2007. The climatology consists of two datasets. A historical dataset (1796–1996) is largely constructed from newspaper archives and other historical archives and datasets, and a recent dataset (1997–2007) is largely constructed from eyewitness accounts sent to the Finnish Meteorological Institute and news reports. This article describes the process of collecting and evaluating possible tornado reports. Altogether, 298 Finnish tornado cases compose the climatology: 129 from the historical dataset and 169 from the recent dataset. An annual average of 14 tornado cases occur in Finland (1997–2007). A case with a significant tornado (F2 or stronger) occurs in our database on average every other year, composing 14% of all tornado cases. All documented tornadoes in Finland have occurred between April and November. As in the neighboring countries in northern Europe, July and August are the months with the maximum frequency of tornado cases, coincident with the highest lightning occurrence both over land and sea. Waterspouts tend to be favored later in the summer, peaking in August. The peak month for significant tornadoes is August. The diurnal peak for tornado cases is 1700–1859 local time.

Full access
David J. Stensrud
,
Harold E. Brooks
,
Jun Du
,
M. Steven Tracton
, and
Eric Rogers

Abstract

Numerical forecasts from a pilot program on short-range ensemble forecasting at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction are examined. The ensemble consists of 10 forecasts made using the 80-km Eta Model and 5 forecasts from the regional spectral model. Results indicate that the accuracy of the ensemble mean is comparable to that from the 29-km Meso Eta Model for both mandatory level data and the 36-h forecast cyclone position. Calculations of spread indicate that at 36 and 48 h the spread from initial conditions created using the breeding of growing modes technique is larger than the spread from initial conditions created using different analyses. However, the accuracy of the forecast cyclone position from these two initialization techniques is nearly identical. Results further indicate that using two different numerical models assists in increasing the ensemble spread significantly.

There is little correlation between the spread in the ensemble members and the accuracy of the ensemble mean for the prediction of cyclone location. Since information on forecast uncertainty is needed in many applications, and is one of the reasons to use an ensemble approach, the lack of a correlation between spread and forecast uncertainty presents a challenge to the production of short-range ensemble forecasts.

Even though the ensemble dispersion is not found to be an indication of forecast uncertainty, significant spread can occur within the forecasts over a relatively short time period. Examples are shown to illustrate how small uncertainties in the model initial conditions can lead to large differences in numerical forecasts from an identical numerical model.

Full access
David J. Stensrud
,
Harold E. Brooks
,
Jun Du
,
M. Steven Tracton
, and
Eric Rogers
Full access
Matthew S. Wandishin
,
Steven L. Mullen
,
David J. Stensrud
, and
Harold E. Brooks

Abstract

Forecasts from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction’s experimental short-range ensemble system are examined and compared with a single run from a higher-resolution model using similar computational resources. The ensemble consists of five members from the Regional Spectral Model and 10 members from the 80-km Eta Model, with both in-house analyses and bred perturbations used as initial conditions. This configuration allows for a comparison of the two models and the two perturbation strategies, as well as a preliminary investigation of the relative merits of mixed-model, mixed-perturbation ensemble systems. The ensemble is also used to estimate the short-range predictability limits of forecasts of precipitation and fields relevant to the forecast of precipitation.

Whereas error growth curves for the ensemble and its subgroups are in relative agreement with previous work for large-scale fields such as 500-mb heights, little or no error growth is found for fields of mesoscale interest, such as convective indices and precipitation. The difference in growth rates among the ensemble subgroups illustrates the role of both initial perturbation strategy and model formulation in creating ensemble dispersion. However, increase spread per se is not necessarily beneficial, as is indicated by the fact that the ensemble subgroup with the greatest spread is less skillful than the subgroup with the least spread.

Further examination into the skill of the ensemble system for forecasts of precipitation shows the advantage gained from a mixed-model strategy, such that even the inclusion of the less skillful Regional Spectral Model members improves ensemble performance. For some aspects of forecast performance, even ensemble configurations with as few as five members are shown to significantly outperform the 29-km Meso-Eta Model.

Full access