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Jared A. Lee, Walter C. Kolczynski, Tyler C. McCandless, and Sue Ellen Haupt


Ensembles of numerical weather prediction (NWP) model predictions are used for a variety of forecasting applications. Such ensembles quantify the uncertainty of the prediction because the spread in the ensemble predictions is correlated to forecast uncertainty. For atmospheric transport and dispersion and wind energy applications in particular, the NWP ensemble spread should accurately represent uncertainty in the low-level mean wind. To adequately sample the probability density function (PDF) of the forecast atmospheric state, it is necessary to account for several sources of uncertainty. Limited computational resources constrain the size of ensembles, so choices must be made about which members to include. No known objective methodology exists to guide users in choosing which combinations of physics parameterizations to include in an NWP ensemble, however. This study presents such a methodology.

The authors build an NWP ensemble using the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting Model (ARW-WRF). This 24-member ensemble varies physics parameterizations for 18 randomly selected 48-h forecast periods in boreal summer 2009. Verification focuses on 2-m temperature and 10-m wind components at forecast lead times from 12 to 48 h. Various statistical guidance methods are employed for down-selection, calibration, and verification of the ensemble forecasts. The ensemble down-selection is accomplished with principal component analysis. The ensemble PDF is then statistically dressed, or calibrated, using Bayesian model averaging. The postprocessing techniques presented here result in a recommended down-selected ensemble that is about half the size of the original ensemble yet produces similar forecast performance, and still includes critical diversity in several types of physics schemes.

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Pedro A. Jiménez, Stefano Alessandrini, Sue Ellen Haupt, Aijun Deng, Branko Kosovic, Jared A. Lee, and Luca Delle Monache


The shortwave radiative impacts of unresolved cumulus clouds are investigated using 6-h ensemble simulations performed with the WRF-Solar Model and high-quality observations over the contiguous United States for a 1-yr period. The ensembles use the stochastic kinetic energy backscatter scheme (SKEBS) to account for implicit model uncertainty. Results indicate that parameterizing the radiative effects of both deep and shallow cumulus clouds is necessary to largely reduce (55%) a systematic overprediction of the global horizontal irradiance. Accounting for the model’s effective resolution is necessary to mitigate the underdispersive nature of the ensemble and provide meaningful quantification of the short-range prediction uncertainties.

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Jared A. Lee, Joshua P. Hacker, Luca Delle Monache, Branko Kosović, Andrew Clifton, Francois Vandenberghe, and Javier Sanz Rodrigo


A current barrier to greater deployment of offshore wind turbines is the poor quality of numerical weather prediction model wind and turbulence forecasts over open ocean. The bulk of development for atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) parameterization schemes has focused on land, partly because of a scarcity of observations over ocean. The 100-m FINO1 tower in the North Sea is one of the few sources worldwide of atmospheric profile observations from the sea surface to turbine hub height. These observations are crucial to developing a better understanding and modeling of physical processes in the marine ABL.

In this study the WRF single-column model (SCM) is coupled with an ensemble Kalman filter from the Data Assimilation Research Testbed (DART) to create 100-member ensembles at the FINO1 location. The goal of this study is to determine the extent to which model parameter estimation can improve offshore wind forecasts. Combining two datasets that provide lateral forcing for the SCM and two methods for determining , the time-varying sea surface roughness length, four WRF-SCM/DART experiments are conducted during the October–December 2006 period. The two methods for determining are the default Fairall-adjusted Charnock formulation in WRF and use of the parameter estimation techniques to estimate in DART. Using DART to estimate is found to reduce 1-h forecast errors of wind speed over the Charnock–Fairall ensembles by 4%–22%. However, parameter estimation of does not simultaneously reduce turbulent flux forecast errors, indicating limitations of this approach and the need for new marine ABL parameterizations.

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