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Robert W. Grumbine

Abstract

The sea-ice albedo treatment currently used in the National Meteorological Center Medium Range Forecast Model was a carryover from earlier models. A more modern treatment is shown to improve forecast skill marginally, as measured by height field anomaly correlation, and to improve substantially the surface temperature field in sea-ice regions. The improvement reduces a systematic bias toward warm temperatures in winter and cold temperatures in summer. Even though the ice retreats once the sun rises, accurate sea-ice albedos are important to the forecast problem.

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Robert W. Grumbine

Abstract

Both sea ice forecast models and methods to measure their skill are needed for operational sea ice forecasting. Two simple sea ice models are described and tested here. Four different measures of skill are also tested. The forecasts from the newer sea ice model are found to perform better, regardless of the skill measure used. All four skill measures show essentially the same behavior, in terms of having no dependence on season and being roughly constant. All four measures also agree that there is no decline in skill with time through the 6-day period of forecast.

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David H. Bromwich, Richard I. Cullather, and Robert W. Grumbine

Abstract

Analyses and medium-range numerical weather forecasts produced by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction are evaluated poleward of 50°S during the July 1994 special observing period of the Antarctic First Regional Observing Study of the Troposphere project. Over the Antarctic plateau, the poor representation of the continent’s terrain creates ambiguity in assessing the quality of surface variables. An examination of the vertical temperature profile, however, finds the near-surface temperature inversion strength to be substantially smaller than the observed climatology at the zero forecast hour. This arises from surface temperatures that are warmer than expected. Significant adjustment occurs in a variety of fields over the first few days of the medium-range forecast, which likely results from the initial hour’s suspect temperature profile. A spatially oscillating series of forecast anomalies in the zonally averaged temperature cross section stretches to middle latitudes by day 3. Near-surface and upper-troposphere values are found actually to improve at the South Pole with forecast time, although some fields continue to adjust through day 7. Although the examination presented here does not give a complete diagnosis, differences between observations and analyses suggest deficiencies with the model initial fields have a major role in producing the substantial model drift found. Atmospheric moisture over the continental interior does not change significantly with forecast hour, although the distinct contrast between nearshore and interior conditions lessens with forecast time. A spurious high-latitude wave pattern is found for a variety of variables. The pattern of this distortion remains constant with forecast hour. Over the ocean, large forecast pressure and height differences with analyses are associated with blocking conditions. However, it is unclear whether this results from deficiencies in the forecast model or the meager observational network over the Southern Ocean.

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Keith M. Hines, Robert W. Grumbine, David H. Bromwich, and Richard I. Cullather

Abstract

The surface energy budget in Antarctic latitudes is evaluated for the medium-range numerical weather forecasts produced by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and for the NCEP–National Center for Atmospheric Research reanalysis project during the winter, spring, and summer special observing periods (SOPs) of the Antarctic First Regional Observing Study of Troposphere project. A significant change in the energy balance resulted from an extensive model update beginning with the forecasts initialized on 11 January 1995 during the summer SOP. Both the forecasts and the reanalysis include significant errors in the surface energy balance over Antarctica. The errors often tend to cancel and thus produce reasonable surface temperature fields. General errors include downward longwave radiation about 30–50 W m−2 too small. Lower than observed cloudiness contributes to this error and to excessive downward shortwave radiation at the surface. The model albedo over Antarctica, about 75%, is lower than that derived from observations, about 81%. During the polar day, errors in net longwave and net shortwave radiation tend to cancel. The energy balance over Antarctica in the reanalysis is, in general, degraded from that of the forecasts.

Seasonal characteristics of the surface energy balance include cooling over East Antarctica and slight warming over West Antarctica during NCEP forecasts for the winter SOP. Wintertime surface warming by downward sensible heat flux is larger than observations by 21–36 W m−2 and tends to balance the excessive longwave cooling at the surface. During the spring SOP, forecast sensible heat flux produces an excessive heating contribution by about 20 W m−2. Latent heat flux during the Antarctic winter for the reanalysis is at least an order of magnitude larger than the very small observed values.

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