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Pao-Liang Chang
and
Pin-Fang Lin

Abstract

In this study, unusual radar anomalous propagation (AP) phenomena associated with foehn winds induced by Typhoon Krosa (2007) were documented by using observations from radar, surface stations, and soundings. The AP echoes embedded within rainband areas and exhibited inward motions toward the radar site within 2–3 h prior to the occurrences of foehn winds at the radar site, which would interfere with the interpretation of radar data and associated downstream applications. As Typhoon Krosa appeared in the vicinity of the northeastern coast of Taiwan, foehn winds with significant subsidence warming and drying generated by downslope winds were observed in southeastern Taiwan. The foehn winds continuously moved northward within confined areas from the southeastern to eastern–central parts of Taiwan. Before the foehn winds penetrated to the surface, the subsidence warming introduced a temperature inversion layer above the surface and caused the ducting of radar beams. Analyses of refractive index and ray tracing suggested that the occurrence and evolution of the AP echoes during Typhoon Krosa were closely related to the varying inversion heights induced by downslope winds.

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Yadong Wang
,
Jian Zhang
,
Pao-Liang Chang
, and
Qing Cao

Abstract

Complex terrain poses challenges to the ground-based radar quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE) because of partial or total blockages of radar beams in the lower tilts. Reflectivities from higher tilts are often used in the QPE under these circumstances and biases are then introduced due to vertical variations of reflectivity. The spaceborne Precipitation Radar (PR) on board the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite can provide good measurements of the vertical structure of reflectivity even in complex terrain, but the poor temporal resolution of TRMM PR data limits their usefulness in real-time QPE. This study proposes a novel vertical profile of reflectivity (VPR) correction approach to enhance ground radar–based QPEs in complex terrain by integrating the spaceborne radar observations. In the current study, climatological relationships between VPRs from an S-band Doppler weather radar located on the east coast of Taiwan and the TRMM PR are developed using an artificial neural network (ANN). When a lower tilt of the ground radar is blocked, higher-tilt reflectivity data are corrected with the trained ANN and then applied in the rainfall estimation. The proposed algorithm was evaluated with three typhoon precipitation events, and its preliminary performance was evaluated and analyzed.

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Pao-Liang Chang
,
Ben Jong-Dao Jou
, and
Jian Zhang

Abstract

A tropical cyclone (TC) eye tracking (TCET) algorithm is presented in this study to objectively identify and track the eye and center of a tropical cyclone using radar reflectivity data. Twelve typhoon cases were studied for evaluating the TCET algorithm. Results show that the TCET can track TC centers for several hours. The longest tracking time is about 35 h. Eye locations estimated from different radars showed consistency with a mean distance bias of about 3.5 km and a standard deviation of about 1.5 km. The TCET analysis shows decreasing eye radius as TCs approach land, especially within 50 km of the coastline.

The TCET algorithm is computationally efficient and can be automated by using the TC center in the previous volume or the estimated center from satellite images as an initial guess. The TCET may not accurately find the TC center when a TC is weak or does not have an enclosed eyewall or when it does have highly noncircular eyes. However, the algorithm is still suitable for operational implementation and provides high spatial and temporal resolution information for TC centers and eye radii, especially for intense TCs.

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Wen-Chau Lee
,
Ben Jong-Dao Jou
,
Pao-Liang Chang
, and
Shiung-Ming Deng

Abstract

Deducing the three-dimensional primary circulation of landfalling tropical cyclones (TCs) from single ground-based Doppler radar data remains a difficult task. The evolution and structure of landfalling TCs and their interactions with terrain are left uncharted due to the lack of dual-Doppler radar observations. Existing ground-based single-Doppler radar TC algorithms provide only qualitative information on axisymmetric TC center location and intensity. In order to improve understanding of the wind structures of landfalling TCs using the widely available WSR-88D data along the U.S. coastal region, a single ground-based radar TC wind retrieval technique, the ground-based Velocity Track Display (GBVTD) technique, is developed. Part I of this paper presents 1) single-Doppler velocity patterns of analytic, asymmetric TCs, 2) derivation of the GBVTD technique, and 3) evaluation of the GBVTD-retrieved winds using analytic TCs.

The Doppler velocity patterns of asymmetric TCs display more complex structure than their axisymmetric counterparts. The asymmetric structure of TCs can be inferred qualitatively from the pattern (or curvature) of the zero Doppler velocity line and the position and shape of the Doppler velocity dipole. However, without knowing the axisymmetric portion of the TC circulation, it is extremely difficult to extract quantitative information from these similar Doppler velocity patterns.

Systematic evaluations on the GBVTD-retrieved winds show good agreement compared with the original analytic wind fields for axisymmetric flows plus mean wind and/or angular wavenumber 1, 2, and 3 asymmetry. It is also shown that the GBVTD technique retrieves wind maxima that are not directly observed (perpendicular to the radar beams) because the GBVTD technique uses the Doppler velocity gradient, not the observed maxima, to retrieve wind maxima. The success of the GBVTD-retrieved winds and understanding their characteristics provide the theoretical basis to nowcast TC kinematic structure.

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Yadong Wang
,
Pengfei Zhang
,
Alexander V. Ryzhkov
,
Jian Zhang
, and
Pao-Liang Chang

Abstract

To improve the accuracy of quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE) in complex terrain, a new rainfall rate estimation algorithm has been developed and applied on two C-band dual-polarization radars in Taiwan. In this algorithm, the specific attenuation A is utilized in the rainfall rate R estimation, and the parameters used in the R(A) method were estimated using the local drop size distribution (DSD) and drop shape relation (DSR) observations. In areas of complex terrain where the lowest antenna tilt is completely blocked, observations from higher tilts are used in radar QPE. Correction of the vertical profile of rain rate estimated by the R(A) algorithm (VPRA) is applied to account for the vertical variability of rain. It has been found that the VPRA correction improved the accuracy of estimated rainfall in severely blocked areas. The R(A)–VPRA scheme was tested for different precipitation cases including typhoon, stratiform, and convective rain. Compared to existing rainfall estimation algorithms such as rainfall–reflectivity (RZ) and rainfall–specific differential phase (RK DP), the new method is able to provide accurate and robust rainfall estimates when the radar reflectivity is miscalibrated or significantly biased by attenuation or when the lower tilt of the radar beam is significantly blocked.

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Wen-Chau Lee
,
Ben J-D. Jou
,
Pao-Liang Chang
, and
Frank D. Marks Jr.

Abstract

This paper is the third of a series that focuses on the applications of the ground-based velocity track display (GBVTD) technique and the GBVTD-simplex center finding algorithm developed in the previous two papers to a real tropical cyclone (TC). The evolution and structure of Typhoon Alex (1987), including full tangential winds, mean radial winds, one component of the mean flow, and their derived axisymmetric angular momentum and perturbation pressure fields are reconstructed from 16 volume scans (6.5 h of data with a 2-h gap) from the Civil Aeronautic Administration (CAA) Doppler radar while Typhoon Alex moved across the mountainous area in northern Taiwan.

This analysis retrieves a plausible and physically consistent three-dimensional primary circulation of a landfalling TC using a single ground-based Doppler radar. Highly asymmetric wind structures were resolved by the GBVTD technique where the maximum relative tangential wind at z = 2 km evolved from 52 m s−1 (before landfall), to less than 40 m s−1 (after landfall), to less than 35 m s−1 (entering the East China Sea). Alex’s eye began to fill with precipitation while its intensity decreased rapidly after landfall, a characteristic of circulations disrupted by terrain. The mean radial wind field revealed a layer of low-level inflow in agreement with past TC observations. The outward slope of the eyewall reflectivity maximum was consistent with the constant angular momentum contours within the eyewall. After Alex entered the East China Sea, its circulation became more axisymmetric.

The axisymmetric perturbation pressure field was retrieved using the gradient wind approximation, which, when used in conjunction with one or more surface pressure measurements within the analysis domain, can estimate the central pressure. The retrieved perturbation pressure fields at two time periods were compared with surface pressures reported in northern Taiwan. Considering the assumptions involved and the influence of terrain, good agreement (only 1–2-mb deviation) was found between them. This agreement indicates the relative quality of the GBVTD-retrieved axisymmetric circulation and suggests GBVTD-retrieved quantities can be useful in operational and research applications.

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Chuan-Yao Lin
,
Wan-Chin Chen
,
Pao-Liang Chang
, and
Yang-Fan Sheng

Abstract

To evaluate the impacts of the urban heat island (UHI) effect on precipitation over a complex geographic environment in northern Taiwan, the next-generation mesoscale model, the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, coupled with the Noah land surface model and urban canopy model (UCM), was used to study this issue. Based on a better land use classification derived from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite data (the MODIS case), it has significantly improved simulation results for the accumulation rainfall pattern as compared with the original U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 25-category land use classification (the USGS case). The precipitation system was found to develop later but stronger in the urban (MODIS) case than in the nonurban (USGS) case. In comparison with the observation by radar, simulation results predicted reasonably well; not only was the rainfall system enhanced downwind of the city over the mountainous area, but it also occurred at the upwind plain area in the MODIS case. The simulation results suggested that the correct land use classification is crucial for urban heat island modeling study. The UHI effect plays an important role in perturbing thermal and dynamic processes; it affects the location of thunderstorms and precipitation over the complex geographic environment in northern Taiwan.

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Pao-Liang Chang
,
Wei-Ting Fang
,
Pin-Fang Lin
, and
Ming-Jen Yang

Abstract

In this study, a vortex-based Doppler velocity dealiasing (VDVD) algorithm for tropical cyclones (TCs) is proposed. The algorithm uses a Rankine combined vortex model as a reference field for dealiasing based on an inner–outer iterative procedure. The structure of the reference vortex is adjusted in an inner iterative procedure of VDVD that applies the ground-based velocity track display (GBVTD) technique. The outer loop of the VDVD based on the GBVTD-simplex algorithm is used for center correction. The VDVD is able to recover not only the aliased Doppler velocities from a simulated symmetric vortex but also those superimposed with wavenumber-1 asymmetry, radial wind, or mean flow. For real cases, the VDVD provides dealiased Doppler velocity with 99.4% accuracy for all pixels, based on 472 elevation sweeps from a typhoon without landfall. It is suggested that the VDVD algorithm can improve the quality of downstream applications such as Doppler wind retrievals and radar data assimilations of TCs and other storms, such as tornadoes and mesocyclones, with vortex signatures.

Open access
Pao-Liang Chang
,
Wei-Ting Fang
,
Pin-Fang Lin
, and
Yu-Shuang Tang

Abstract

As Typhoon Goni (2015) passed over Ishigaki Island, a maximum gust speed of 71 m s−1 was observed by a surface weather station. During Typhoon Goni’s passage, mountaintop radar recorded antenna elevation angle oscillations, with a maximum amplitude of ~0.2° at an elevation angle of 0.2°. This oscillation phenomenon was reflected in the reflectivity and Doppler velocity fields as Typhoon Goni’s eyewall encompassed Ishigaki Island. The main antenna oscillation period was approximately 0.21–0.38 s under an antenna rotational speed of ~4 rpm. The estimated fundamental vibration period of the radar tower is approximately 0.25–0.44 s, which is comparable to the predominant antenna oscillation period and agrees with the expected wind-induced vibrations of buildings. The reflectivity field at the 0.2° elevation angle exhibited a phase shift signature and a negative correlation of −0.5 with the antenna oscillation, associated with the negative vertical gradient of reflectivity. FFT analysis revealed two antenna oscillation periods at 0955–1205 and 1335–1445 UTC 23 August 2015. The oscillation phenomenon ceased between these two periods because Typhoon Goni’s eye moved over the radar site. The VAD analysis-estimated wind speeds at a range of 1 km for these two antenna oscillation periods exceeded 45 m s−1, with a maximum value of approximately 70 m s−1. A bandpass filter QC procedure is proposed to filter out the predominant wavenumbers (between 40 and 70) for the reflectivity and Doppler velocity fields. The proposed QC procedure is indicated to be capable of mitigating the major signals resulting from antenna oscillations.

Open access
I-Han Chen
,
Yi-Jui Su
,
Hsiao-Wei Lai
,
Jing-Shan Hong
,
Chih-Hsin Li
,
Pao-Liang Chang
, and
Ying-Jhang Wu

Abstract

A 16-member convective-scale ensemble prediction system (CEPS) developed at the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) of Taiwan is evaluated for probability forecasts of convective precipitation. To address the issues of limited predictability of convective systems, the CEPS provides short-range forecasts using initial conditions from a rapid-updated ensemble data assimilation system. This study aims to identify the behavior of the CEPS forecasts, especially the impact of different ensemble configurations and forecast lead times. Warm-season afternoon thunderstorms (ATs) from 30 June to 4 July 2017 are selected. Since ATs usually occur between 1300 and 2000 LST, this study compares deterministic and probabilistic quantitative precipitation forecasts (QPFs) launched at 0500, 0800, and 1100 LST. This study demonstrates that initial and boundary perturbations (IBP) are crucial to ensure good spread–skill consistency over the 18-h forecasts. On top of IBP, additional model perturbations have insignificant impacts on upper-air and precipitation forecasts. The deterministic QPFs launched at 1100 LST outperform those launched at 0500 and 0800 LST, likely because the most-recent data assimilation analyses enhance the practical predictability. However, it cannot improve the probabilistic QPFs launched at 1100 LST due to inadequate ensemble spreads resulting from limited error growth time. This study points out the importance of sufficient initial condition uncertainty on short-range probabilistic forecasts to exploit the benefits of rapid-update data assimilation analyses.

Significance Statement

This study aims to understand the behavior of convective-scale short-range probabilistic forecasts in Taiwan and the surrounding area. Taiwan is influenced by diverse weather systems, including typhoons, mei-yu fronts, and local thunderstorms. During the past decade, there has been promising improvement in predicting mesoscale weather systems (e.g., typhoons and mei-yu fronts). However, it is still challenging to provide timely and accurate forecasts for rapid-evolving high-impact convection. This study provides a reference for the designation of convective-scale ensemble prediction systems; in particular, those with a goal to provide short-range probabilistic forecasts. While the findings cannot be extrapolated to all ensemble prediction systems, this study demonstrates that initial and boundary perturbations are the most important factors, while the model perturbation has an insignificant effect. This study suggests that in-depth studies are required to improve the convective-scale initial condition accuracy and uncertainty to provide reliable probabilistic forecasts within short lead times.

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