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Yunji Zhang
,
Zhiyong Meng
,
Fuqing Zhang
, and
Yonghui Weng
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Yunji Zhang
,
Zhiyong Meng
,
Fuqing Zhang
, and
Yonghui Weng

Abstract

The practical predictability of tropical cyclone (TC) intensity in terms of mean absolute forecast error with respect to different conditions at forecast initialization was explored through convection-permitting hindcasts of all Atlantic storms during the 2008–12 hurricane seasons using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model. Averaged over a total of 2190 simulations, the day 1–5 performance of these WRF hindcasts was comparable to two operational regional-scale hurricane prediction models used by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) but was slightly inferior to the NHC official forecasts. It was found that the prediction accuracy of TC intensity, both at the initialization time and the targeted forecast hours, was strongly correlated with the TC intensity. On average, for both the WRF hindcasts and the NHC official forecasts, stronger intensities and larger intensity variations led to larger forecast errors. A number of synoptic-scale environmental parameters, such as vertical wind shear, sea surface temperature (SST), and the underlying surface condition (land vs sea), affected the intensity forecast errors of TCs, in part due to their influence on intensity changes, while other thermodynamic environmental parameters, such as moisture and instability, had relatively minor effects. The accuracy of the intensity prediction was also found to be sensitive to the translation speed of the TCs. A moderate TC translation speed of 11–15 knots (kt; 1 kt = 0.51 m s−1) corresponded to the largest intensity errors during forecast lead times less than 60 h, while the slowest translation speed (<7 kt) was associated with the largest errors after the 60-h forecast lead time.

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Christopher Melhauser
,
Fuqing Zhang
,
Yonghui Weng
,
Yi Jin
,
Hao Jin
, and
Qingyun Zhao

Abstract

This study examines a multimodel comparison of regional-scale convection-permitting ensembles including both physics and initial condition uncertainties for the probabilistic prediction of Hurricanes Sandy (2012) and Edouard (2014). The model cores examined include COAMPS-TC, HWRF, and WRF-ARW. Two stochastic physics schemes were also applied using the WRF-ARW model. Each ensemble was initialized with the same initial condition uncertainties represented by the analysis perturbations from a WRF-ARW-based real-time cycling ensemble Kalman filter. It is found that single-core ensembles were capable of producing similar ensemble statistics for track and intensity for the first 36–48 h of model integration, with biases in the ensemble mean evident at longer forecast lead times along with increased variability in spread. The ensemble spread of a multicore ensemble with members sampled from single-core ensembles was generally as large or larger than any constituent model, especially at longer lead times. Systematically varying the physic parameterizations in the WRF-ARW ensemble can alter both the forecast ensemble mean and spread to resemble the ensemble performance using a different forecast model. Compared to the control WRF-ARW experiment, the application of the stochastic kinetic energy backscattering scheme had minimal impact on the ensemble spread of track and intensity for both cases, while the use of stochastic perturbed physics tendencies increased the ensemble spread in track for Sandy and in intensity for both cases. This case study suggests that it is important to include model physics uncertainties for probabilistic TC prediction. A single-core multiphysics ensemble can capture the ensemble mean and spread forecasted by a multicore ensemble for the presented case studies.

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Fuqing Zhang
,
Yonghui Weng
,
Ying-Hwa Kuo
,
Jeffery S. Whitaker
, and
Baoguo Xie

Abstract

This study examines the prediction and predictability of the recent catastrophic rainfall and flooding event over Taiwan induced by Typhoon Morakot (2009) with a state-of-the-art numerical weather prediction model. A high-resolution convection-permitting mesoscale ensemble, initialized with analysis and flow-dependent perturbations obtained from a real-time global ensemble data assimilation system, is found to be able to predict this record-breaking rainfall event, producing probability forecasts potentially valuable to the emergency management decision makers and the general public. Since all the advanced modeling and data assimilation techniques used here are readily available for real-time operational implementation provided sufficient computing resources are made available, this study demonstrates the potential and need of using ensemble-based analysis and forecasting, along with enhanced computing, in predicting extreme weather events like Typhoon Morakot at operational centers.

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