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Steve Keighton
,
Douglas K. Miller
,
David Hotz
,
Patrick D. Moore
,
L. Baker Perry
,
Laurence G. Lee
, and
Daniel T. Martin

Abstract

In late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy tracked along the eastern U.S. coastline and made landfall over New Jersey after turning sharply northwest and becoming posttropical while interacting with a complex upper-level low pressure system that had brought cold air into the Appalachian region. The cold air, intensified by the extreme low pressure tracking just north of the region, combined with deep moisture and topographically enhanced ascent to produce an unusual and high-impact early season northwest flow snow (NWFS) that has no analog in recent history. This paper investigates the importance of the synoptic-scale pattern, forcing mechanisms, moisture characteristics (content, depth, and likely sources), and low-level winds, as well as the evolution of some of these features compared to more typical NWFS events in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Several other aspects of the Sandy snowfall event are investigated, including low-level stability and mountain wave formation as manifested in vertical profiles and radar observations. The importance to operational forecasters of recognizing and understanding these factors and differences from more common NWFS events is also discussed.

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John R. Gyakum
,
Marco Carrera
,
Da-Lin Zhang
,
Steve Miller
,
James Caveen
,
Robert Benoit
,
Thomas Black
,
Andrea Buzzi
,
Cliément Chouinard
,
M. Fantini
,
C. Folloni
,
Jack J. Katzfey
,
Ying-Hwa Kuo
,
François Lalaurette
,
Simon Low-Nam
,
Jocelyn Mailhot
,
P. Malguzzi
,
John L. McGregor
,
Masaomi Nakamura
,
Greg Tripoli
, and
Clive Wilson

Abstract

The authors evaluate the performance of current regional models in an intercomparison project for a case of explosive secondary marine cyclogenesis occurring during the Canadian Atlantic Storms Project and the Genesis of Atlantic Lows Experiment of 1986. Several systematic errors are found that have been identified in the refereed literature in prior years. There is a high (low) sea level pressure bias and a cold (warm) tropospheric temperature error in the oceanic (continental) regions. Though individual model participants produce central pressures of the secondary cyclone close to the observed during the final stages of its life cycle, systematically weak systems are simulated during the critical early stages of the cyclogenesis. Additionally, the simulations produce an excessively weak (strong) continental anticyclone (cyclone); implications of these errors are discussed in terms of the secondary cyclogenesis. Little relationship between strong performance in predicting the mass field and skill in predicting a measurable amount of precipitation is found. The bias scores in the precipitation study indicate a tendency for all models to overforecast precipitation. Results for the measurable threshold (0.2 mm) indicate the largest gain in precipitation scores results from increasing the horizontal resolution from 100 to 50 km, with a negligible benefit occurring as a consequence of increasing the resolution from 50 to 25 km. The importance of a horizontal resolution increase from 100 to 50 km is also generally shown for the errors in the mass field. However, little improvement in the prediction of the cyclogenesis is found by increasing the horizontal resolution from 50 to 25 km.

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