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Xiaomin Chen
George H. Bryan
Andrew Hazelton
Frank D. Marks
, and
Pat Fitzpatrick


Accurately representing boundary layer turbulent processes in numerical models is critical to improve tropical cyclone forecasts. A new turbulence kinetic energy (TKE)-based moist eddy-diffusivity mass-flux (EDMF-TKE) planetary boundary layer scheme has been implemented in NOAA’s Hurricane Analysis and Forecast System (HAFS). This study evaluates EDMF-TKE in hurricane conditions based on a recently developed framework using large-eddy simulation (LES). Single-column modeling tests indicate that EDMF-TKE produces much greater TKE values below 500-m height than LES benchmark runs in different high-wind conditions. To improve these results, two parameters in the TKE scheme were modified to ensure a match between the PBL and surface-layer parameterizations. Additional improvements were made by reducing the maximum allowable mixing length to 40 m based on LES and observations, by adopting a different definition of boundary layer height, and by reducing nonlocal mass fluxes in high-wind conditions. With these modifications, the profiles of TKE, eddy viscosity, and winds compare much better with LES results. Three-dimensional idealized simulations and an ensemble of HAFS forecasts of Hurricane Michael (2018) consistently show that the modified EDMF-TKE tends to produce a stronger vortex with a smaller radius of maximum wind than the original EDMF-TKE, while the radius of gale-force wind is unaffected. The modified EDMF-TKE code produces smaller eddy viscosity within the boundary layer compared to the original code, which contributes to stronger inflow, especially within the annulus of 1–3 times the radius of maximum wind. The modified EDMF-TKE shows promise to improve forecast skill of rapid intensification in sheared environments.

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