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Nannan Qin and Da-Lin Zhang

Abstract

Hurricane Patricia (2015) broke records in both peak intensity and rapid intensification (RI) rate over the eastern Pacific basin. All of the then-operational models predicted less than half of its extraordinary intensity and RI rate, leaving a challenge for numerical modeling studies. In this study, a successful 42-h simulation of Patricia is obtained using a quintuply nested-grid version of the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) Model with the finest grid size of 333 m. Results show that the WRF Model, initialized with the Global Forecast System Final Analysis data only, could reproduce the track, peak intensity, and many inner-core features, as verified against various observations. In particular, its simulated maximum surface wind of 92 m s−1 is close to the observed 95 m s−1, capturing the unprecedented RI rate of 54 m s−1 (24 h)−1. In addition, the model reproduces an intense warm-cored eye, a small-sized eyewall with a radius of maximum wind of less than 10 km, and the distribution of narrow spiral rainbands. A series of sensitivity simulations is performed to help understand which model configurations are essential to reproducing the extraordinary intensity of the storm. Results reveal that Patricia’s extraordinary development and its many inner-core structures could be reasonably well simulated if ultrahigh horizontal resolution, appropriate model physics, and realistic initial vortex intensity are incorporated. It is concluded that the large-scale conditions (e.g., warm sea surface temperature, weak vertical wind shear, and the moist intertropical convergence zone) and convective organization play important roles in determining the predictability of Patricia’s extraordinary RI and peak intensity.

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Nannan Qin, Da-Lin Zhang, and Ying Li

Abstract

It is well known that hurricane intensification is often accompanied by continuous contraction of the radius of maximum wind (RMW) and eyewall size. However, a few recent studies have shown rapid and then slow contraction of the RMW/eyewall size prior to the onset and during the early stages of rapid intensification (RI) of hurricanes, respectively, but a steady state in the RMW (S-RMW) and eyewall size during the later stages of RI. In this study, a statistical analysis of S-RMWs associated with rapidly intensifying hurricanes is performed using the extended best-track dataset during 1990–2014 in order to examine how frequently, and at what intensity and size, the S-RMW structure tends to occur. Results show that about 53% of the 139 RI events of 24-h duration associated with 55 rapidly intensifying hurricanes exhibit S-RMWs, and that the percentage of the S-RMW events increases to 69% when RI events are evaluated at 12-h intervals, based on a new RI rate definition of 10 m s−1 (12 h)−1; both results satisfy the Student’s t tests with confidence levels of over 95%. In general, S-RMWs tend to appear more frequently in more intense storms and when their RMWs are contracted to less than 50 km. This work suggests a new fruitful research area in studying the RI of hurricanes with S-RMWs.

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Qin Zhang and Huug van den Dool

Abstract

Retrospective forecasts of the new NCEP Climate Forecast System (CFS) have been analyzed out to 45 days from 1999 to 2009 with four members (0000, 0600, 1200, and 1800 UTC) each day. The new version of CFS [CFS, version 2 (CFSv2)] shows significant improvement over the older CFS [CFS, version 1 (CFSv1)] in predicting the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO), with skill reaching 2–3 weeks in comparison with the CFSv1’s skill of nearly 1 week. Diagnostics of experiments related to the MJO forecast show that the systematic error correction, possible only because of the enormous hindcast dataset and the ensemble aspects of the prediction system (4 times a day), do contribute to improved forecasts. But the main reason is the improvement in the model and initial conditions between 1995 and 2010.

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Huug van den Dool, Emily Becker, Li-Chuan Chen, and Qin Zhang

Abstract

An ordinary regression of predicted versus observed probabilities is presented as a direct and simple procedure for minimizing the Brier score (BS) and improving the attributes diagram. The main example applies to seasonal prediction of extratropical sea surface temperature by a global coupled numerical model. In connection with this calibration procedure, the probability anomaly correlation (PAC) is developed. This emphasizes the exact analogy of PAC and minimizing BS to the widely used anomaly correlation (AC) and minimizing mean squared error in physical units.

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Chang-Jiang Zhang, Jin-Fang Qian, Lei-Ming Ma, and Xiao-Qin Lu

Abstract

An objective technique is presented to estimate tropical cyclone intensity using the relevance vector machine (RVM) and deviation angle distribution inhomogeneity (DADI) based on infrared satellite images of the northwest Pacific Ocean basin from China’s FY-2C geostationary satellite. Using this technique, structures of a deviation-angle gradient co-occurrence matrix, which include 15 statistical parameters nonlinearly related to tropical cyclone intensity, were derived from infrared satellite imagery. RVM was then used to relate these statistical parameters to tropical cyclone intensity. Twenty-two tropical cyclones occurred in the northwest Pacific during 2005–09 and were selected to verify the performance of the proposed technique. The results show that, in comparison with the traditional linear regression method, the proposed technique can significantly improve the accuracy of tropical cyclone intensity estimation. The average absolute error of intensity estimation using the linear regression method is between 15 and 29 m s−1. Compared to the linear regression method, the average absolute error of the intensity estimation using RVM is between 3 and 10 m s−1.

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Qingyun Zhao, Fuqing Zhang, Teddy Holt, Craig H. Bishop, and Qin Xu

Abstract

An ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) has been adopted and implemented at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) for mesoscale and storm-scale data assimilation to study the impact of ensemble assimilation of high-resolution observations, including those from Doppler radars, on storm prediction. The system has been improved during its implementation at NRL to further enhance its capability of assimilating various types of meteorological data. A parallel algorithm was also developed to increase the system’s computational efficiency on multiprocessor computers. The EnKF has been integrated into the NRL mesoscale data assimilation system and extensively tested to ensure that the system works appropriately with new observational data stream and forecast systems. An innovative procedure was developed to evaluate the impact of assimilated observations on ensemble analyses with no need to exclude any observations for independent validation (as required by the conventional evaluation based on data-denying experiments). The procedure was employed in this study to examine the impacts of ensemble size and localization on data assimilation and the results reveal a very interesting relationship between the ensemble size and the localization length scale. All the tests conducted in this study demonstrate the capabilities of the EnKF as a research tool for mesoscale and storm-scale data assimilation with potential operational applications.

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Shun Liu, Geoff DiMego, Shucai Guan, V. Krishna Kumar, Dennis Keyser, Qin Xu, Kang Nai, Pengfei Zhang, Liping Liu, Jian Zhang, Kenneth Howard, and Jeff Ator

Abstract

Real-time access to level II radar data became available in May 2005 at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Central Operations (NCO). Using these real-time data in operational data assimilation requires the data be processed reliably and efficiently through rigorous data quality controls. To this end, advanced radar data quality control techniques developed at the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) are combined into a comprehensive radar data processing system at NCEP. Techniques designed to create a high-resolution reflectivity mosaic developed at the NSSL are also adopted and installed within the NCEP radar data processing system to generate hourly 3D reflectivity mosaics and 2D-derived products. The processed radar radial velocity and 3D reflectivity mosaics are ingested into NCEP’s data assimilation systems to improve operational numerical weather predictions. The 3D reflectivity mosaics and 2D-derived products are also used for verification of high-resolution numerical weather prediction. The NCEP radar data processing system is described.

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