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  • Author or Editor: Xuguang Wang x
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Jie Feng
and
Xuguang Wang

Abstract

The dropsondes released during the Tropical Cyclone Intensity (TCI) field campaign provide high-resolution kinematic and thermodynamic measurements of tropical cyclones within the upper-level outflow and inner core. This study investigates the impact of these upper-level TCI dropsondes on analyses and prediction of Hurricane Patricia (2015) during its rapid intensification (RI) phase using an ensemble–variational data assimilation system. In the baseline experiment (BASE), both kinematic and thermodynamic observations of TCI dropsondes at all levels except the upper levels are assimilated. The upper-level wind and thermodynamic observations are assimilated in additional experiments to investigate their respective impacts. Compared to BASE, assimilating TCI upper-level wind observations improves the accuracy of outflow analyses verified against independent atmospheric motion vector (AMV) observations. It also strengthens the tangential and radial wind near the upper-level eyewall. The inertial stability within the upper-level eyewall is enhanced, and the maximum outflow is more aligned toward the inner core. Additionally, the analyses including the upper-level thermodynamic observations produce a warmer and drier core at high levels. Assimilating both upper-level kinematic and thermodynamic observations also improves the RI forecast. Compared to BASE, assimilating the upper-level wind induces more upright and inward-located eyewall convection, resulting in more latent heat release closer to the warm core. This process leads to stronger inner-core warming. Additionally, the initial warmer upper-level inner core produced by assimilating TCI thermodynamic observations also intensifies the convection and latent heat release within the eyewall, thus further contributing to the improved intensity forecasts.

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Xu Lu
and
Xuguang Wang

Abstract

Assimilating inner-core observations collected from recent field campaign programs such as Tropical Cyclone Intensity (TCI) and Intensity Forecasting Experiment (IFEX) together with the enhanced atmospheric motion vectors (AMVs) produce realistic three-dimensional (3D) analyses using the newly developed GSI-based, continuously cycled, dual-resolution hybrid ensemble–variational data assimilation (DA) system for the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) Model for Hurricane Patricia (2015). However, more persistent surface wind maximum spindown is found in the intensity forecast initialized from the realistic analyses produced by the DA system but not from the unrealistic initial conditions produced through vortex modification. Diagnostics in this study reveal that the spindown issue is likely attributed to the deficient HWRF Model physics that are unable to maintain the realistic 3D structures from the DA analysis. The horizontal diffusion is too strong to maintain the realistically observed vertical oscillation of radial wind near the eyewall region. The vertical diffusion profile cannot produce a sufficiently strong secondary circulation connecting the realistically elevated upper-level outflow produced in the DA analysis. Further investigations with different model physics parameterizations demonstrate that spindown can be alleviated by modifying model physics parameterizations. In particular, a modified turbulent mixing parameterization scheme together with a reduced horizontal diffusion is found to significantly alleviate the spindown issue and to improve the intensity forecast. Additional experiments show that the peak-simulated intensity and rapid intensification rate can be further improved by increasing the model resolution. But the model resolution is not as important as model physics in the spindown alleviation.

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Jie Feng
and
Xuguang Wang

Abstract

Although numerous studies have demonstrated that increasing model spatial resolution in free forecasts can potentially improve tropical cyclone (TC) intensity forecasts, studies on the impact of model resolution during data assimilation (DA) on TC prediction are lacking. In this study, using the ensemble-variational DA system for the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) Model, we investigated the individual impact of increasing the model resolution of first guess (FG) and background ensemble (BE) forecasts during DA on initial analyses and subsequent forecasts of Hurricane Patricia (2015). The impacts were compared between horizontal and vertical resolutions and also between the tropical storm (TS) and hurricane assimilation during Patricia. The results show that increasing the horizontal or vertical resolution in FG has a larger impact than increasing the resolution in BE on improving the analyzed TC intensity and structure for the hurricane stage. The result is reversed for the TS stage. These results are attributed to the effectiveness of increasing the FG resolution in intensifying the background vortex for the hurricane stage relative to the TS stage. Increasing the BE resolution contributes to improving the analyzed intensity through the better-resolved background correlation structure for both the hurricane and TS stages. Increasing horizontal resolution has an overall larger effect than increasing vertical resolution in improving the analysis at the hurricane stage and their effects are close for the analysis at the TS stage. Additionally, the more accurately analyzed primary circulation, secondary circulation, and warm-core structures via the increased resolution in DA lead to improved TC intensity forecasts.

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James D. Doyle
,
Jonathan R. Moskaitis
,
Joel W. Feldmeier
,
Ronald J. Ferek
,
Mark Beaubien
,
Michael M. Bell
,
Daniel L. Cecil
,
Robert L. Creasey
,
Patrick Duran
,
Russell L. Elsberry
,
William A. Komaromi
,
John Molinari
,
David R. Ryglicki
,
Daniel P. Stern
,
Christopher S. Velden
,
Xuguang Wang
,
Todd Allen
,
Bradford S. Barrett
,
Peter G. Black
,
Jason P. Dunion
,
Kerry A. Emanuel
,
Patrick A. Harr
,
Lee Harrison
,
Eric A. Hendricks
,
Derrick Herndon
,
William Q. Jeffries
,
Sharanya J. Majumdar
,
James A. Moore
,
Zhaoxia Pu
,
Robert F. Rogers
,
Elizabeth R. Sanabia
,
Gregory J. Tripoli
, and
Da-Lin Zhang

Abstract

Tropical cyclone (TC) outflow and its relationship to TC intensity change and structure were investigated in the Office of Naval Research Tropical Cyclone Intensity (TCI) field program during 2015 using dropsondes deployed from the innovative new High-Definition Sounding System (HDSS) and remotely sensed observations from the Hurricane Imaging Radiometer (HIRAD), both on board the NASA WB-57 that flew in the lower stratosphere. Three noteworthy hurricanes were intensively observed with unprecedented horizontal resolution: Joaquin in the Atlantic and Marty and Patricia in the eastern North Pacific. Nearly 800 dropsondes were deployed from the WB-57 flight level of ∼60,000 ft (∼18 km), recording atmospheric conditions from the lower stratosphere to the surface, while HIRAD measured the surface winds in a 50-km-wide swath with a horizontal resolution of 2 km. Dropsonde transects with 4–10-km spacing through the inner cores of Hurricanes Patricia, Joaquin, and Marty depict the large horizontal and vertical gradients in winds and thermodynamic properties. An innovative technique utilizing GPS positions of the HDSS reveals the vortex tilt in detail not possible before. In four TCI flights over Joaquin, systematic measurements of a major hurricane’s outflow layer were made at high spatial resolution for the first time. Dropsondes deployed at 4-km intervals as the WB-57 flew over the center of Hurricane Patricia reveal in unprecedented detail the inner-core structure and upper-tropospheric outflow associated with this historic hurricane. Analyses and numerical modeling studies are in progress to understand and predict the complex factors that influenced Joaquin’s and Patricia’s unusual intensity changes.

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