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Fayçal Lamraoui, James F. Booth, and Catherine M. Naud


The present study explores the ability of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model to accurately reproduce the passage of extratropical cold fronts at the DOE ARM eastern North Atlantic (ENA) observation site on the Azores. An analysis of three case studies is performed in which the impact of the WRF domain size, position of the model boundary relative to the ENA site, grid spacing, and spectral nudging conditions are explored. The results from these case studies indicate that model biases in the timing and duration of cold front passages change with the distance between the model domain boundary and the ENA site. For these three cases, if the western model boundary is farther than 1500 km from the site, the front becomes too meridional and fails to reach the site, making 1000 or 1500 km the optimal distances. In contrast, integrations with small distances (e.g., 500 km) between the site and domain boundaries have inadequate spatial spinup (i.e., the domain is too small for the model to properly stabilize). For all three cases, regardless of domain size, the model has biases in its upper-level circulation that impact the position and timing of the front. However, this issue is most serious for 4000-km2 domains and larger. For these domains, prolonged spectral nudging can correct cold front biases. As such, this analysis provides a framework to optimize the WRF Model configuration necessary for a realistic hindcast of a cold front passage at a fixed location centered in a domain as large as computationally possible.

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James F. Booth, LuAnne Thompson, Jérôme Patoux, and Kathryn A. Kelly


The Gulf Stream region is a primary location for midlatitude storm cyclogenesis and growth. However, the influence of sea surface temperature (SST) on storms in the region is still under question, particularly after a storm has developed. Using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, a storm that intensified as it transited northward across the Gulf Stream is simulated multiple times using different SST boundary conditions. These experiments test the storm response to changes in both the absolute value of the SST and the meridional SST gradient. Across the different simulations, the storm strength increases monotonically with the magnitude of the SST perturbations, even when the perturbations weaken the SST gradient. The storm response to the SST perturbations is driven by the latent heat release in the storm warm conveyor belt (WCB). During the late stages of development, the surface fluxes under the storm warm sector regulate the supply of heat and moisture to the WCB. This allows the surface fluxes to govern late-stage intensification and control the storm SST sensitivity. The storm warm front also responds to the SST perturbations; however, the response is independent of that of the storm central pressure. These modeling results suggest that the SST beneath the storm can have just as important a role as the SST gradients in local forcing of the storm.

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