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Courtney Schumacher
,
Paul E. Ciesielski
, and
Minghua H. Zhang

Abstract

Diabatic heating (or Q 1) profiles associated with specific cloud types are produced by matching synoptic cloud observations with a sounding budget analysis during the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Kwajalein Experiment (KWAJEX), which took place in the Marshall Islands from late July through mid-September 1999. Fair-weather cumulus clouds produce up to 1 K day−1 of heating below 850 hPa and are associated with cooling throughout much of the rest of the troposphere. Cumulus congestus clouds produce heating on the order of 1 K day−1 up to 575 hPa and cooling in the mid- to upper troposphere. Cumulonimbus clouds produce heating through the depth of the troposphere, with a maximum of 3.7 K day−1 near 550 hPa. Cloud types indicating widespread rain (stratus or cumulus fractus of bad weather at low levels and nimbostratus at midlevels) have the largest and most elevated heating, with values >10 K day−1 above 600 hPa. Other mid- and high-level cloud types are shown to be consistent with area-averaged rain rates and Q 1 profiles. Profiles of the divergence and apparent moisture sink (or Q 2) for convective clouds are also analyzed and are shown to be consistent with the physics of the heating profiles just described.

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M. H. Zhang
,
J. L. Lin
,
R. T. Cederwall
,
J. J. Yio
, and
S. C. Xie

Abstract

Motivated by the need to obtain accurate objective analysis of field experimental data to force physical parameterizations in numerical models, this paper first reviews the existing objective analysis methods and interpolation schemes that are used to derive atmospheric wind divergence, vertical velocity, and advective tendencies. Advantages and disadvantages of different methods are discussed. It is shown that considerable uncertainties in the analyzed products can result from the use of different analysis. The paper then describes a hybrid approach to combine the strengths of the regular grid and the line-integral methods, together with a variational constraining procedure for the analysis of field experimental data. In addition to the use of upper-air data, measurements at the surface and at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) are used to constrain the upper-air analysis to conserve column-integrated mass, water, energy, and momentum.

Analyses are shown for measurements taken in the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program July 1995 intensive observational period. Sensitivity experiments are carried out to test the robustness of the analyzed data and to reveal uncertainties in the analysis. These include sensitivities to the interpolation schemes, to the types of input data sources, and to the variational constraining procedures. It is shown that the constraining process of using additional surface and TOA data significantly reduces the sensitivity of the final data products.

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Mikyoung Jun
,
Istvan Szunyogh
,
Marc G. Genton
,
Fuqing Zhang
, and
Craig H. Bishop

Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of spatial filtering on the ensemble-based estimate of the background error covariance matrix in an ensemble-based Kalman filter (EnKF). In particular, a novel kernel smoothing method with variable bandwidth is introduced and its performance is compared to that of the widely used Gaspari–Cohn filter, which uses a fifth-order kernel function with a fixed localization length. Numerical experiments are carried out with the 40-variable Lorenz-96 model. The results of the experiments show that the nonparametric approach provides a more accurate estimate of the background error covariance matrix than the Gaspari–Cohn filter with any localization length. It is also shown that the Gaspari–Cohn filter tends to provide more accurate estimates of the covariance with shorter localization lengths. However, the analyses obtained by using longer localization lengths tend to be more accurate than those produced by using short localization lengths or the nonparametric approach. This seemingly paradoxical result is explained by showing that localization with longer localization lengths produces filtered estimates whose time mean is the most similar to the time mean of both the unfiltered estimate and the true covariance. This result suggests that a better metric of covariance filtering skill would be one that combined a measure of closeness to the sample covariance matrix for a very large ensemble with a measure of similarity between the climatological averages of the filtered and sample covariance.

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Sara Q. Zhang
,
Milija Zupanski
,
Arthur Y. Hou
,
Xin Lin
, and
Samson H. Cheung

Abstract

Assimilation of remotely sensed precipitation observations into numerical weather prediction models can improve precipitation forecasts and extend prediction capabilities in hydrological applications. This paper presents a new regional ensemble data assimilation system that assimilates precipitation-affected microwave radiances into the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF). To meet the challenges in satellite data assimilation involving cloud and precipitation processes, hydrometeors produced by the cloud-resolving model are included as control variables and ensemble forecasts are used to estimate flow-dependent background error covariance. Two assimilation experiments have been conducted using precipitation-affected radiances from passive microwave sensors: one for a tropical storm after landfall and the other for a heavy rain event in the southeastern United States. The experiments examined the propagation of information in observed radiances via flow-dependent background error auto- and cross covariance, as well as the error statistics of observational radiance. The results show that ensemble assimilation of precipitation-affected radiances improves the quality of precipitation analyses in terms of spatial distribution and intensity in accumulated surface rainfall, as verified by independent ground-based precipitation observations.

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Fuqing Zhang
,
Yonghui Weng
,
Jason A. Sippel
,
Zhiyong Meng
, and
Craig H. Bishop

Abstract

This study explores the assimilation of Doppler radar radial velocity observations for cloud-resolving hurricane analysis, initialization, and prediction with an ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF). The case studied is Hurricane Humberto (2007), the first landfalling hurricane in the United States since the end of the 2005 hurricane season and the most rapidly intensifying near-landfall storm in U.S. history. The storm caused extensive damage along the southeast Texas coast but was poorly predicted by operational models and forecasters. It is found that the EnKF analysis, after assimilating radial velocity observations from three Weather Surveillance Radars-1988 Doppler (WSR-88Ds) along the Gulf coast, closely represents the best-track position and intensity of Humberto. Deterministic forecasts initialized from the EnKF analysis, despite displaying considerable variability with different lead times, are also capable of predicting the rapid formation and intensification of the hurricane. These forecasts are also superior to simulations without radar data assimilation or with a three-dimensional variational scheme assimilating the same radar observations. Moreover, nearly all members from the ensemble forecasts initialized with EnKF analysis perturbations predict rapid formation and intensification of the storm. However, the large ensemble spread of peak intensity, which ranges from a tropical storm to a category 2 hurricane, echoes limited predictability in deterministic forecasts of the storm and the potential of using ensembles for probabilistic forecasts of hurricanes.

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Julia H. Keller
,
Christian M. Grams
,
Michael Riemer
,
Heather M. Archambault
,
Lance Bosart
,
James D. Doyle
,
Jenni L. Evans
,
Thomas J. Galarneau Jr.
,
Kyle Griffin
,
Patrick A. Harr
,
Naoko Kitabatake
,
Ron McTaggart-Cowan
,
Florian Pantillon
,
Julian F. Quinting
,
Carolyn A. Reynolds
,
Elizabeth A. Ritchie
,
Ryan D. Torn
, and
Fuqing Zhang

Abstract

The extratropical transition (ET) of tropical cyclones often has an important impact on the nature and predictability of the midlatitude flow. This review synthesizes the current understanding of the dynamical and physical processes that govern this impact and highlights the relationship of downstream development during ET to high-impact weather, with a focus on downstream regions. It updates a previous review from 2003 and identifies new and emerging challenges and future research needs. First, the mechanisms through which the transitioning cyclone impacts the midlatitude flow in its immediate vicinity are discussed. This “direct impact” manifests in the formation of a jet streak and the amplification of a ridge directly downstream of the cyclone. This initial flow modification triggers or amplifies a midlatitude Rossby wave packet, which disperses the impact of ET into downstream regions (downstream impact) and may contribute to the formation of high-impact weather. Details are provided concerning the impact of ET on forecast uncertainty in downstream regions and on the impact of observations on forecast skill. The sources and characteristics of the following key features and processes that may determine the manifestation of the impact of ET on the midlatitude flow are discussed: the upper-tropospheric divergent outflow, mainly associated with latent heat release in the troposphere below, and the phasing between the transitioning cyclone and the midlatitude wave pattern. Improving the representation of diabatic processes during ET in models and a climatological assessment of the ET’s impact on downstream high-impact weather are examples for future research directions.

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