Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 25 items for

  • Author or Editor: Aaron Johnson x
  • All content x
Clear All Modify Search
Aaron Johnson and Xuguang Wang

Abstract

Object-based verification of deterministic forecasts from a convection-allowing ensemble for the 2009 NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed Spring Experiment is conducted. The average of object attributes is compared between forecasts and observations and between forecasts from subensembles with different model dynamics. Forecast accuracy for the full ensemble and the subensembles with different model dynamics is also evaluated using two object-based measures: the object-based threat score (OTS) and the median of maximum interest (MMI).

Forecast objects aggregated from the full ensemble are generally more numerous, have a smaller average area, more circular average aspect ratio, and more eastward average centroid location than observed objects after the 1-h lead time. At the 1-h lead time, forecast objects are less numerous than observed objects. Members using the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting Model (ARW) have fewer objects, more linear average aspect ratio, and smaller average area than members using the Nonhydrostatic Mesoscale Model (NMM). The OTS aggregated from the full ensemble is more consistent with the diurnal cycles of the traditional equitable threat score (ETS) than the MMI because the OTS places more weight on large objects, while the MMI weights all objects equally. The group of ARW members has higher OTS than the group of NMM members except at the 1-h lead time when the group of NMM members has more accurate maintenance and evolution of initially present precipitation systems provided by radar data assimilation. The differences between the ARW and NMM accuracy are more pronounced with the OTS than the MMI and the ETS.

Full access
Aaron Johnson and Xuguang Wang

Abstract

Neighborhood and object-based probabilistic precipitation forecasts from a convection-allowing ensemble are verified and calibrated. Calibration methods include logistic regression, one- and two-parameter reliability-based calibration, and cumulative distribution function (CDF)-based bias adjustment. Newly proposed object-based probabilistic forecasts for the occurrence of a forecast object are derived from the percentage of ensemble members with a matching object. Verification and calibration of single- and multimodel subensembles are performed to explore the effect of using multiple models.

The uncalibrated neighborhood-based probabilistic forecasts have skill minima during the afternoon convective maximum. Calibration generally improves the skill, especially during the skill minima, resulting in positive skill. In general all calibration methods perform similarly, with a slight advantage of logistic regression (one-parameter reliability based) calibration for 1-h (6 h) accumulations.

The uncalibrated object-based probabilistic forecasts are, in general, less skillful than the uncalibrated neighborhood-based probabilistic forecasts. Object-based calibration also results in positive skill at all lead times. For object-based calibration the skill is significantly different among the calibration methods, with the logistic regression performing the best and CDF-based bias adjustment performing the worst.

For both the neighborhood and object-based probabilistic forecasts, the impact of using 10 or 25 days of training data for calibration is generally small and is most significant for the two-parameter reliability-based method. An uncalibrated Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting Model (ARW-WRF) subensemble is significantly more skillful than an uncalibrated WRF Nonhydrostatic Mesoscale Model (NMM) subensemble. The difference is reduced by calibration. The multimodel subensemble only shows an advantage for the neighborhood-based forecasts beyond 1-day lead time and shows no advantage for the object-based forecasts.

Full access
Aaron Johnson and Xuguang Wang

Abstract

The impacts of multiscale flow-dependent initial condition (IC) perturbations for storm-scale ensemble forecasts of midlatitude convection are investigated using perfect-model observing system simulation experiments. Several diverse cases are used to quantitatively and qualitatively understand the impacts of different IC perturbations on ensemble forecast skill. Scale dependence of the results is assessed by evaluating 2-h storm-scale reflectivity forecasts separately from hourly accumulated mesoscale precipitation forecasts.

Forecasts are initialized with different IC ensembles, including an ensemble of multiscale perturbations produced by a multiscale data assimilation system, mesoscale perturbations produced at a coarser resolution, and filtered multiscale perturbations. Mesoscale precipitation forecasts initialized with the multiscale perturbations are more skillful than the forecasts initialized with the mesoscale perturbations at several lead times. This multiscale advantage is due to greater consistency between the IC perturbations and IC uncertainty. This advantage also affects the short-term, smaller-scale forecasts. Reflectivity forecasts on very small scales and very short lead times are more skillful with the multiscale perturbations as a direct result of the smaller-scale IC perturbation energy. The small-scale IC perturbations also contribute to some improvements to the mesoscale precipitation forecasts after the ~5-h lead time. Altogether, these results suggest that the multiscale IC perturbations provided by ensemble data assimilation on the convection-permitting grid can improve storm-scale ensemble forecasts by improving the sampling of IC uncertainty, compared to downscaling of IC perturbations from a coarser-resolution ensemble.

Full access
Aaron Johnson and Xuguang Wang

Abstract

A case study characterized by Arctic cyclogenesis following a tropopause polar vortex (TPV)-induced Rossby wave initiation event is used to better understand how well existing observations constrain analyses of processes influencing Arctic cyclone predictive skill. Complementary techniques of observation system experiments (OSE) and ensemble sensitivity analysis (ESA) are used to investigate the impacts of existing observation networks on predictions for this case. The ESA reveals that the large-scale Rossby wave structure correlated with both Arctic cyclone track and amplitude errors. The ensemble analyses of mid-level moisture in the warm conveyor belt region were correlated with forecast cyclone amplitude, but this feature was poorly sampled in existing observations. There is also a sensitivity of Arctic cyclone forecast amplitude error to low level temperature in the air mass of the cyclogenesis region at analysis time and a sensitivity of Arctic cyclone forecast track error to low level temperature in the region of an Arctic cold front and a coastal front at the analysis time. The OSEs for this case reveal that Arctic cyclone track error is more sensitive to denial of existing observations than amplitude error. While lower level (below 700 hPa) observations had greatest impact on the surface cyclone during the early stages, upper level (above 500 hPa) observations had the dominant impact during its later evolution. Denying temperature from just three well-placed sondes substantially increased track error by degrading analyses of the TPV amplitude and its interaction with the waveguide and developing Rossby wave packet. These results are encouraging for further Arctic cyclone forecast improvements through addition of even a small number of well-placed observations.

Restricted access
Aaron Johnson and Xuguang Wang

Abstract

Four case studies from the Plains Elevated Convection at Night (PECAN) field experiment are used to investigate the impacts of horizontal and vertical resolution, and vertical mixing parameterization, on predictions of bore structure and upscale impacts of bores on their mesoscale environment. The reduction of environmental convective inhibition (CIN) created by the bore is particularly emphasized. Simulations are run with horizontal grid spacings ranging from 250 to 1000 m, as well as 50 m for one case study, different vertical level configurations, and different closure models for the vertical turbulent mixing at 250-m horizontal resolution. The 11 July case study was evaluated in greatest detail because it was the best observed case and has been the focus of a previous study. For this case, it is found that 250-m grid spacing improves upon 1-km grid spacing, LES configuration provides further improvement, and enhanced low-level vertical resolution also provides further improvement in terms of qualitative agreement between simulated and observed bore structure. Reducing LES grid spacing further to 50 m provided very little additional advantage. Only the LES experiments properly resolved the upscale influence of reduced low-level CIN. Expanding on the 11 July case study, three other cases from PECAN with diverse observed bore structures were also evaluated. Similar to the 11 July case, enhancing the horizontal and vertical grid spacings, and using the LES closure model for vertical turbulent mixing, all contributed to improved simulations of both the bores themselves and the larger-scale modification of CIN to varying degrees on different cases.

Full access
Aaron Johnson and Xuguang Wang

Abstract

A real-time GSI-based and ensemble-based data assimilation (DA) and forecast system was implemented at the University of Oklahoma during the 2015 Plains Elevated Convection at Night (PECAN) experiment. Extensive experiments on the configuration of the cycled DA and on both the DA and forecast physics ensembles were conducted using retrospective cases to optimize the system design for nocturnal convection. The impacts of radar DA between 1200 and 1300 UTC, as well as the frequency and number of DA cycles and the DA physics configuration, extend through the following night. Ten-minute cycling of radar DA leads to more skillful forecasts than both more and less frequent cycling. The Thompson microphysics scheme for DA better analyzes the effects of morning convection on environmental moisture than WSM6, which improves the convection forecast the following night. A multi-PBL configuration during DA leads to less skillful short-term forecasts than even a relatively poorly performing single-PBL scheme. Deterministic and ensemble forecast physics configurations are also evaluated. Thompson microphysics and the Mellor–Yamada–Nakanishi–Niino (MYNN) PBL provide the most skillful nocturnal precipitation forecasts. A well thought out multiphysics configuration is shown to provide advantages over evenly distributing three of the best-performing microphysics and PBL schemes or a fixed MYNN/Thompson ensemble. This is shown using objective and subjective verification of precipitation and nonprecipitation variables, including convective initiation. Predictions of the low-level jet are sensitive to the PBL scheme, with the best scheme being variable and time dependent. These results guided the implementation and verification of a real-time ensemble DA and forecast system for PECAN.

Full access
Aaron Johnson and Xuguang Wang

Abstract

This study investigates impacts on convection-permitting ensemble forecast performance of different methods of generating the ensemble IC perturbations in the context of simultaneous physics diversity among the ensemble members. A total of 10 convectively active cases are selected for a systematic comparison of different methods of perturbing IC perturbations in 10-member convection-permitting ensembles, both with and without physics diversity. These IC perturbation methods include simple downscaling of coarse perturbations from a global model (LARGE), perturbations generated with ensemble data assimilation directly on the multiscale domain (MULTI), and perturbations generated using each method with small scales filtered out as a control. MULTI was found to be significantly more skillful than LARGE at early lead times in all ensemble physics configurations, with the advantage of MULTI gradually decreasing with increasing forecast lead time. The advantage of MULTI, relative to LARGE, was reduced but not eliminated by the presence of physics diversity because of the extra ensemble spread that the physics diversity provided. The advantage of MULTI, relative to LARGE, was also reduced by filtering the IC perturbations to a commonly resolved spatial scale in both ensembles, which highlights the importance of flow-dependent small-scale (<~10 m) IC perturbations in the ensemble design. The importance of the physics diversity, relative to the IC perturbation method, depended on the spatial scale of interest, forecast lead time, and the meteorological characteristics of the forecast case. Such meteorological characteristics include the strength of synoptic-scale forcing, the role of cold pool interactions, and the occurrence of convective initiation or dissipation.

Restricted access
Aaron Johnson, Xuguang Wang, and Samuel Degelia

Abstract

Multiscale ensemble-based data assimilation and forecasts were performed in real time during the Plains Elevated Convection At Night (PECAN) field experiment. A 20-member ensemble of forecasts at 4-km grid spacing was initialized daily at both 1300 and 1900 UTC, together with a deterministic forecast at 1-km grid spacing initialized at 1300 UTC. The configuration of the GSI-based data assimilation and forecast system was guided by results presented in Part I of this two-part study. The present paper describes the implementation of the real-time system and the extensive forecast products that were generated to support the unique interests of PECAN researchers. Subjective and objective verification of the real-time forecasts from 1 June through 15 July 2015 is conducted, with an emphasis on nocturnal mesoscale convective systems (MCSs), nocturnal convective initiation (CI), nocturnal low-level jets (LLJs), and bores on the nocturnal stable layer. Verification of nocturnal precipitation during overnight hours, a proxy for MCSs, shows both greater skill and spread for the 1300 UTC forecasts than the 1900 UTC forecasts. Verification against observed soundings reveals that the forecast LLJs systematically peak, veer, and dissipate several hours before the observations. Comparisons with bores that passed over an Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer reveal an ability to predict borelike features that is greatly improved at 1-km, compared with 4-km, grid spacing. Objective verification of forecast CI timing reveals strong sensitivity to the PBL scheme but an overall unbiased ensemble.

Full access
Aaron Johnson, Xuguang Wang, Fanyou Kong, and Ming Xue

Abstract

Forecasts generated by the Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms with 1- and 4-km grid spacing using the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting Model (ARW-WRF; ARW1 and ARW4, respectively) for the 2009–11 NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed Spring Experiments are compared and verified. Object-based measures, including average values of object attributes, the object-based threat score (OTS), and the median of maximum interest (MMI) are used for the verification. Verification was first performed against observations at scales resolvable by each forecast model and then performed at scales resolvable by both models by remapping ARW1 to the ARW4 grid (ARW1to4). Thirty-hour forecasts of 1-h accumulated precipitation initialized at 0000 UTC on 22, 36, and 33 days during the spring of 2009, 2010, and 2011, respectively, are evaluated over a domain covering most of the central and eastern United States. ARW1, ARW1to4, and ARW4 all significantly overforecasted the number of objects during diurnal convection maxima. The overforecasts by ARW1 and ARW1to4 were more pronounced than ARW4 during the first convection maximum at 1-h lead time. The average object area and aspect ratio were closer to observations for ARW1 and ARW1to4 than for ARW4. None of the models showed a significant advantage over the others for average orientation angle and centroid location. Increased accuracy for ARW1, compared to ARW4, was statistically significant for the MMI but not the OTS. However, ARW1to4 had similar MMI and OTS as ARW4 at most lead times. These results are consistent with subjective evaluations that the greatest impact of grid spacing is on the smallest resolvable objects.

Full access
Samuel K. Degelia, Xuguang Wang, David J. Stensrud, and Aaron Johnson

Abstract

The initiation of new convection at night in the Great Plains contributes to a nocturnal maximum in precipitation and produces localized heavy rainfall and severe weather hazards in the region. Although previous work has evaluated numerical model forecasts and data assimilation (DA) impacts for convection initiation (CI), most previous studies focused only on convection that initiates during the afternoon and not explicitly on nocturnal thunderstorms. In this study, we investigate the impact of assimilating in situ and radar observations for a nocturnal CI event on 25 June 2013 using an ensemble-based DA and forecast system. Results in this study show that a successful CI forecast resulted only when assimilating conventional in situ observations on the inner, convection-allowing domain. Assimilating in situ observations strengthened preexisting convection in southwestern Kansas by enhancing buoyancy and locally strengthening low-level convergence. The enhanced convection produced a cold pool that, together with increased convergence along the northwestern low-level jet (LLJ) terminus near the region of CI, was an important mechanism for lifting parcels to their level of free convection. Gravity waves were also produced atop the cold pool that provided further elevated ascent. Assimilating radar observations further improved the forecast by suppressing spurious convection and reducing the number of ensemble members that produced CI along a spurious outflow boundary. The fact that the successful CI forecasts resulted only when the in situ observations were assimilated suggests that accurately capturing the preconvective environment and specific mesoscale features is especially important for nocturnal CI forecasts.

Full access