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Lisa-Ann Quandt
,
Julia H. Keller
,
Olivia Martius
, and
Sarah C. Jones

Abstract

The Euro–Russian atmospheric blocking pattern in the summer of 2010 was related to high-impact weather, including a mega–heat wave in Russia. A set of scenarios for the synoptic evolution during the onset, mature stage, and decay of the block are extracted from the THORPEX Interactive Grand Global Ensemble multimodel ensemble forecast. These scenarios represent the key features of the forecast variability of the block and of the resulting surface impacts. Two heat indices and a fire index are computed to highlight the forecast variability in societal impacts. The study is a proof of concept, showing how information about surface impacts can be derived from available operational ensemble forecasts in an effective manner, and pointing to possible difficulties in this approach. Comparing the forecast for the heat wave’s impact on large spatial domains, and on a near-gridpoint scale, identifies challenges forecasters may face when predicting the development of a heat wave.

Although the block’s onset was highly predictable, the increase in temperature and the extension of the heat-affected area differed between the scenarios. During the mature stage of the block, the variability of its western flank had a considerable influence on the precipitation and heat distribution. Since the blocking was maintained after the analyzed decay in two of three scenarios, the predictability of the decay was low in this forecast. The heat wave ended independently from the block’s decay, as the surface temperature and the impact indices decreased in all scenarios.

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Sarah C. Jones
,
Patrick A. Harr
,
Jim Abraham
,
Lance F. Bosart
,
Peter J. Bowyer
,
Jenni L. Evans
,
Deborah E. Hanley
,
Barry N. Hanstrum
,
Robert E. Hart
,
François Lalaurette
,
Mark R. Sinclair
,
Roger K. Smith
, and
Chris Thorncroft

Abstract

A significant number of tropical cyclones move into the midlatitudes and transform into extratropical cyclones. This process is generally referred to as extratropical transition (ET). During ET a cyclone frequently produces intense rainfall and strong winds and has increased forward motion, so that such systems pose a serious threat to land and maritime activities. Changes in the structure of a system as it evolves from a tropical to an extratropical cyclone during ET necessitate changes in forecast strategies. In this paper a brief climatology of ET is given and the challenges associated with forecasting extratropical transition are described in terms of the forecast variables (track, intensity, surface winds, precipitation) and their impacts (flooding, bush fires, ocean response). The problems associated with the numerical prediction of ET are discussed. A comprehensive review of the current understanding of the processes involved in ET is presented. Classifications of extratropical transition are described and potential vorticity thinking is presented as an aid to understanding ET. Further sections discuss the interaction between a tropical cyclone and the midlatitude environment, the role of latent heat release, convection and the underlying surface in ET, the structural changes due to frontogenesis, the mechanisms responsible for precipitation, and the energy budget during ET. Finally, a summary of the future directions for research into ET is given.

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Françoise Guichard
,
Nicole Asencio
,
Christophe Peugeot
,
Olivier Bock
,
Jean-Luc Redelsperger
,
Xuefeng Cui
,
Matthew Garvert
,
Benjamin Lamptey
,
Emiliano Orlandi
,
Julia Sander
,
Federico Fierli
,
Miguel Angel Gaertner
,
Sarah C. Jones
,
Jean-Philippe Lafore
,
Andrew Morse
,
Mathieu Nuret
,
Aaron Boone
,
Gianpaolo Balsamo
,
Patricia de Rosnay
,
Bertrand Decharme
,
Philip P. Harris
, and
J.-C. Bergès

Abstract

An evaluation of precipitation and evapotranspiration simulated by mesoscale models is carried out within the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) program. Six models performed simulations of a mesoscale convective system (MCS) observed to cross part of West Africa in August 2005.

Initial and boundary conditions are found to significantly control the locations of rainfall at synoptic scales as simulated with either mesoscale or global models. When initialized and forced at their boundaries by the same analysis, all models forecast a westward-moving rainfall structure, as observed by satellite products. However, rainfall is also forecast at other locations where none was observed, and the nighttime northward propagation of rainfall is not well reproduced. There is a wide spread in the rainfall rates across simulations, but also among satellite products.

The range of simulated meridional fluctuations of evapotranspiration (E) appears reasonable, but E displays an overly strong zonal symmetry. Offline land surface modeling and surface energy budget considerations show that errors in the simulated E are not simply related to errors in the surface evaporative fraction, and involve the significant impact of cloud cover on the incoming surface shortwave flux.

The use of higher horizontal resolution (a few km) enhances the variability of precipitation, evapotranspiration, and precipitable water (PW) at the mesoscale. It also leads to a weakening of the daytime precipitation, less evapotranspiration, and smaller PW amounts. The simulated MCS propagates farther northward and somewhat faster within an overall drier atmosphere. These changes are associated with a strengthening of the links between PW and precipitation.

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