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Tsing-Chang Chen
,
Jenq-Dar Tsay
, and
Eugene S. Takle

Abstract

Summer is a dry season in northern Taiwan. By contrast, the Taipei basin, located in this region, has its maximum rainfall during summer (15 June–31 August), when 78% of this rainfall is contributed by afternoon thunderstorms. This thunderstorm activity occurs during only 20 days in summer. Because of the pronounced impacts on the well-being of three million people in the basin and the relative infrequency of occurrence, forecasting thunderstorm events is an important operational issue in the Taipei basin. The basin’s small size (30 km × 60 km), with two river exits and limited thunderstorm occurrence days, makes the development of a thunderstorm activity forecast model for this basin a great challenge. Synoptic analysis reveals a thunderstorm day may develop from morning synoptic conditions free of clouds/rain, with a NW–SE-oriented dipole located south of Taiwan and southwesterlies straddling the low and high of this dipole. The surface meteorological conditions along the two river valleys exhibit distinct diurnal variations of pressure, temperature, dewpoint depression, relative humidity, and land–sea breezes. The primary features of the synoptic conditions and timings of the diurnal cycles for the four surface variables are utilized to develop a two-step hybrid forecast advisory for thunderstorm occurrence. Step 1 validates the 24-h forecasts for the 0000 UTC (0800 LST) synoptic conditions and timings for diurnal variations for the first five surface variables on thunderstorm days. Step 2 validates the same synoptic and surface meteorological conditions (including sea-breeze onset time) observed on the thunderstorm day. The feasibility of the proposed forecast advisory is successfully demonstrated by these validations.

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Shih-Yu Wang
,
Tsing-Chang Chen
, and
S. Elwynn Taylor

Abstract

In the U.S. northern plains, summer progressive convective storms that occur in weakly forced environments are often coupled with short-wave perturbations that are embedded in the midlevel northwesterly flow. These midtropospheric perturbations (MPs) are capable of inducing propagating convection that contributes to a majority of the rainfall over the northern plains during July and August. There is a possibility that the difficulties of numerical weather prediction models in forecasting summer convective rainfall over the northern plains are partly attributed to their deficiency in forecasting MPs. The present study tests this possibility through examining operational forecasts by the North American Mesoscale (NAM) model during the summers of 2005 and 2006.

Forecasted MPs exhibit slower propagation speeds and weaker relative vorticity than the observations leading to systematic position errors. Underpredicted vorticity magnitudes weaken horizontal vorticity advection that influences the vorticity tendency throughout the MP life cycle and, in turn, slows the propagation speed of MPs. Moreover, biases of weak ambient flow speed and vortex stretching contribute to the magnitude and propagation speed errors of MPs. Skill scores of precipitation forecasts associated with MPs are low, but can be considerably improved after removing the MP position error that displaces the rainfall pattern. The NAM also tends to underpredict precipitation amounts. A modified water vapor budget analysis reveals that the NAM insufficiently generates atmospheric humidity over the central United States. The shortage of moisture in the forecast reduces the water vapor flux convergence that is part of the precipitation process. The precipitation bias may feed back to affect the MP growth through the bias in heating, thus further slowing the perturbation.

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Melinda S. Peng
,
Der-Song Chen
,
Simon W. Chang
,
C-P. Chang
, and
B-F. Jeng

Abstract

In an effort to improve the tropical cyclone track forecast, two preprocessing procedures are applied to an operational baroclinic forecast system at the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) in Taipei. The first replaces the environmental wind field near the storm by the previous 6-h.movement vector of the storm. The second incorporates a wavenumber-1 asymmetry constructed by matching the flow at the center of the asymmetry with the previous 6-h storm movement. Applying both processes to the 32 typhoon casts archived at the CWB in 1990 reduces the averaged 48-h forecast distance error from 474 to 351 km.

Multiexisting typhoons may have interactions among themselves that depend on relative intensity. Proper representation of the intensities in the initial bogus is important for the track forecast. Experiments with different initial bogus intensities are conducted on a case of dual typhoons-Nat and Mireille in 1991. The forecast using different bogus vortices according to the estimated intensities of each typhoon gives substantially smaller errors than that using identical bogus vortices. The impact of initial bogus vortex intensity on the track forecast for single typhoon cases is also illustrated.

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Joan M. Von Ahn
,
Joseph M. Sienkiewicz
, and
Paul S. Chang

Abstract

The NASA Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT) has revolutionized the analysis and short-term forecasting of winds over the oceans at the NOAA Ocean Prediction Center (OPC). The success of QuikSCAT in OPC operations is due to the wide 1800-km swath width, large retrievable wind speed range (0 to in excess of 30 m s−1), ability to view QuikSCAT winds in a comprehensive form in operational workstations, and reliable near-real-time delivery of data. Prior to QuikSCAT, marine forecasters at the OPC made warning and forecast decisions over vast ocean areas based on a limited number of conventional observations or on the satellite presentation of a storm system. Today, QuikSCAT winds are a heavily used tool by OPC forecasters. Approximately 10% of all short-term wind warning decisions by the OPC are based on QuikSCAT winds. When QuikSCAT is available, 50%–68% of all weather features on OPC surface analyses are placed using QuikSCAT. QuikSCAT is the first remote sensing instrument that can consistently distinguish extreme hurricane force conditions from less dangerous storm force conditions in extratropical cyclones. During each winter season (October–April) from 2001 to 2004, 15–23 extratropical cyclones reached hurricane force intensity over both the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans. Due to QuikSCAT, OPC forecasters are now more likely to anticipate the onset of hurricane force conditions. QuikSCAT has also revealed significant wind speed gradients in the vicinity of strong sea surface temperature (SST) differences near the Gulf Stream and shelfbreak front of the western North Atlantic. These wind speed gradients are most likely due to changes in low-level stability of the boundary layer across the SST gradients. OPC forecasters now use a variety of numerical guidance based tools to help predict boundary layer stability and the resultant near-surface winds.

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Melinda S. Peng
,
B-F. Jeng
, and
C-P. Chang

Abstract

A limited-area numerical model designed specifically for forecasting typhoon tracks has been operational at the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) in Taipei, Taiwan, since January 1990. It is a primitive equation model with nine σ levels and a grid size of 70 km. The model domain of 8500 km × 6000 km is centered near Taiwan, and covers the western part of the Pacific Ocean and southeast China. A model-balanced vortex is bogussed into the analysis to initialize the forecast. To ensure the maintenance of the vortex circulation throughout the forecast period, artificial heating options are incorporated to supplement the Kuo-type cumulus parameterization in the model.

The statistics of track errors for all forecast cases conducted during the development and operational checkout period (before December 1989) and during 1990, the first year of real-time operation, are reported. During the operational checkout period, 12 typhoons were forecasted, with an average 48-h track error of 415 km (62 forecast cases). For the 1990 season, there were 11 typhoons, with an average 48-h error of 392 km (63 forecast cases). The errors are compared with the One-Way Interactive Tropical Cyclone Model (OTCM), which is considered as the best long-term operational numerical track model for the western Pacific, using a homogeneous sample. The results indicate that the two models have similar average errors. The model had larger errors than the climatology and persistence (CLIPER) method. However, for all three typhoons with erratic movements, the model outperformed the CLIPER.

The model was modified in several ways prior to the beginning of the 1990 season. The most beneficial modification appears to have been the enlargement of the forecast domain. However, the domain was still not large enough to cover important synoptic fields for Typhoon Marian, which was the westernmost typhoon forecasted by the model. Postoperational experiments were conducted and the forecast track of Typhoon Marian improved when the model domain was expanded to the west. Examination of the synoptic patterns indicates that the track forecast depends closely on the forecast of the subtropical high circulation.

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Bao-Fong Jeng
,
Hway-Jen Chen
,
Shwu-Ching Lin
,
Tzay-Ming Leou
,
Melinda S. Peng
,
Simon W. Chang
,
Wu-Ron Hsu
, and
C.-P. Chang

Abstract

The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) in Taipei, Republic of China has entered the era of operational numerical weather prediction with the complete online operations of a Global Forecast System (GFS) and the Limited-Area Forecast Systems (LAFS). A brief description of the Regional Forecast System (RFS) and the Mesoscale Forecast System (MFS) of the LAFS are presented in this paper. The RFS has a horizontal resolution of 90 km, depends on the GFS for boundary values, and produces forecast up to 48 h over the eastern parts of Asia and the northwestern Pacific Ocean. The MFS has a resolution of 45 km, uses RFS analysis and forecast as initial and boundary conditions, and produces 24-h forecasts for Taiwan and its immediate vicinity. Model configurations, numerics, physical parameterizations, performance statistics, and two significant weather cases of the two forecast systems are discussed. Future improvements and new plans will also be given.

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D. L. Westphal
,
T. R. Holt
,
S. W. Chang
,
N. L. Baker
,
T. F. Hogan
,
L. R. Brody
,
R. A. Godfrey
,
J. S. Goerss
,
J. A. Cummings
,
D. J. Laws
, and
C. W. Hines

Abstract

The Marine Meteorology Division of the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), assisted by the Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center, has performed global and mesoscale reanalyses to support the study of Gulf War illness. Realistic and quantitatively accurate atmospheric conditions are needed to drive dispersion models that can predict the transport and dispersion of chemical agents that may have affected U.S. and other coalition troops in the hours and days following the demolition of chemical weapons at Khamisiyah, Iraq, at approximately 1315 UTC 10 March 1991. The reanalysis was conducted with the navy’s global and mesoscale analysis and prediction systems: the Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System and the NRL Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System. A comprehensive set of observations has been collected and used in the reanalysis, including unclassified and declassified surface reports, ship and buoy reports, observations from pibal and rawinsonde, and retrievals from civilian and military satellites. The atmospheric conditions for the entire globe have been reconstructed using the global system at the effective spatial resolution of 0.75°. The atmospheric conditions over southern Iraq, Kuwait, and northern Saudi Arabia have been reconstructed using the mesoscale system at the spatial resolutions of 45, 15, and 5 km. In addition to a baseline reanalysis, perturbation analyses were also performed to estimate the atmospheric sensitivity to observational error and analysis error. The results suggest that the reanalysis has bounded the variability and that the actual atmospheric conditions were unlikely to differ significantly from the reanalysis.

The synoptic conditions at and after the time of the detonation were typical of the transitional period after a Shamal and controlled by eastward-propagating small-amplitude troughs and ridges. On the mesoscale, the conditions over the Tigris–Euphrates Valley were further modulated by the diurnal variation in the local circulations between land, the Persian Gulf, and the Zagros Mountains. The boundary layer winds at Khamisiyah were from NNW at the time of the detonation and shifted to WNW in the nocturnal boundary layer. On the second day, a strong high passed north of Khamisiyah and the winds strengthened and turned to the ESE. During the third day, the region was dominated by the approach and passage of a low pressure system and the associated front with the SE winds veering to NW.

A transport model for passive scalars was used to illustrate the sensitivity to the reanalyzed fields of potential areas of contamination. Transport calculations based on various release scenario and reanalyzed meteorological conditions suggest that the mean path of the released chemical agents was southward from Khamisiyah initially, turning westward, and eventually northwestward during the 72-h period after the demolition. Precipitation amounts in the study area were negligible and unlikely to have an effect on the nerve agent.

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