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Ling-Feng Hsiao
,
Melinda S. Peng
,
Der-Song Chen
,
Kang-Ning Huang
, and
Tien-Chiang Yeh

Abstract

Tropical cyclone (TC) track predictions from the operational regional nonhydrostatic TC forecast system of the Taiwanese Central Weather Bureau (CWB) are examined for their sensitivities to initial and lateral boundary conditions. Five experiments are designed and discussed, each using a combination of different initial and lateral boundary conditions coming either from the CWB or the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) global forecast system. Eight typhoons in the western Pacific Ocean with 51 cases in 2004 and 2005 are tested with the five designed experiments for the 3-day forecast. The average track forecasts are the best when both the initial and lateral boundary conditions are from the NCEP global forecast system. This reflects the generally superior performance of the NCEP global forecast system relative to that of the CWB. Using different lateral boundary conditions has a greater impact on the track than using different initial conditions. Diagnostics using piecewise inversion of potential vorticity perturbations are carried out to identify synoptic features surrounding the featured typhoon that impact the track the most in each experiment. For the two cases demonstrated with the largest track improvement using NCEP global fields, the diagnostics indicate that the prediction of the strength and extent of the subtropical high in the western Pacific plays the major role in affecting these storm tracks. Using the analysis and predictions of the CWB global forecast system as the initial and lateral boundary conditions produces an overintensified subtropical ridge in the regional TC forecast model. Because most of the typhoons studied are located in the southwestern peripheral of the western Pacific subtropical high, the stronger steering from the more intense and extended high system is the main cause of the poleward bias in the predicted typhoon tracks in the operational run, which uses the CWB global forecast fields. The study suggests that, when efforts are made to improve a regional TC forecast model, it is also critically important to improve the global forecast system that provides the lateral boundary and initial conditions to the regional system.

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Melinda S. Peng
,
Der-Song Chen
,
Simon W. Chang
,
C-P. Chang
, and
B-F. Jeng

Abstract

In an effort to improve the tropical cyclone track forecast, two preprocessing procedures are applied to an operational baroclinic forecast system at the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) in Taipei. The first replaces the environmental wind field near the storm by the previous 6-h.movement vector of the storm. The second incorporates a wavenumber-1 asymmetry constructed by matching the flow at the center of the asymmetry with the previous 6-h storm movement. Applying both processes to the 32 typhoon casts archived at the CWB in 1990 reduces the averaged 48-h forecast distance error from 474 to 351 km.

Multiexisting typhoons may have interactions among themselves that depend on relative intensity. Proper representation of the intensities in the initial bogus is important for the track forecast. Experiments with different initial bogus intensities are conducted on a case of dual typhoons-Nat and Mireille in 1991. The forecast using different bogus vortices according to the estimated intensities of each typhoon gives substantially smaller errors than that using identical bogus vortices. The impact of initial bogus vortex intensity on the track forecast for single typhoon cases is also illustrated.

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Ling-Feng Hsiao
,
Chi-Sann Liou
,
Tien-Chiang Yeh
,
Yong-Run Guo
,
Der-Song Chen
,
Kang-Ning Huang
,
Chuen-Teyr Terng
, and
Jen-Her Chen

Abstract

This paper introduces a relocation scheme for tropical cyclone (TC) initialization in the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting (ARW-WRF) model and demonstrates its application to 70 forecasts of Typhoons Sinlaku (2008), Jangmi (2008), and Linfa (2009) for which Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau (CWB) issued typhoon warnings. An efficient and dynamically consistent TC vortex relocation scheme for the WRF terrain-following mass coordinate has been developed to improve the first guess of the TC analysis, and hence improves the tropical cyclone initialization. The vortex relocation scheme separates the first-guess atmospheric flow into a TC circulation and environmental flow, relocates the TC circulation to its observed location, and adds the relocated TC circulation back to the environmental flow to obtain the updated first guess with a correct TC position. Analysis of these typhoon cases indicates that the relocation procedure moves the typhoon circulation to the observed typhoon position without generating discontinuities or sharp gradients in the first guess.

Numerical experiments with and without the vortex relocation procedure for Typhoons Sinlaku, Jangmi, and Linfa forecasts show that about 67% of the first-guess fields need a vortex relocation to correct typhoon position errors while eliminates the topographical effect. As the vortex relocation effectively removes the typhoon position errors in the analysis, the simulated typhoon tracks are considerably improved for all forecast times, especially in the early periods as large adjustments appeared without the vortex relocation. Comparison of the horizontal and vertical vortex structures shows that large errors in the first-guess fields due to an incorrect typhoon position are eliminated by the vortex relocation scheme and that the analyzed typhoon circulation is stronger and more symmetric without distortions, and better agrees with observations. The result suggests that the main difficulty of objective analysis methods [e.g., three-dimensional variational data assimilation (3DVAR)], in TC analysis comes from poor first-guess fields with incorrect TC positions rather than not enough model resolution or observations. In addition, by computing the eccentricity and correlation of the axes of the initial typhoon circulation, the distorted typhoon circulation caused by the position error without the vortex relocation scheme is demonstrated to be responsible for larger track errors. Therefore, by eliminating the typhoon position error in the first guess that avoids a distorted initial typhoon circulation, the vortex relocation scheme is able to improve the ARW-WRF typhoon initialization and forecasts particularly when using data assimilation update cycling.

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Ling-Feng Hsiao
,
Der-Song Chen
,
Ying-Hwa Kuo
,
Yong-Run Guo
,
Tien-Chiang Yeh
,
Jing-Shan Hong
,
Chin-Tzu Fong
, and
Cheng-Shang Lee

Abstract

In this paper, the impact of outer loop and partial cycling with the Weather Research and Forecasting Model’s (WRF) three-dimensional variational data assimilation system (3DVAR) is evaluated by analyzing 78 forecasts for three typhoons during 2008 for which Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau (CWB) issued typhoon warnings, including Sinlaku, Hagupit, and Jangmi. The use of both the outer loop and the partial cycling approaches in WRF 3DVAR are found to reduce typhoon track forecast errors by more than 30%, averaged over a 72-h period. The improvement due to the outer loop approach, which can be more than 42%, was particularly significant in the early phase of the forecast. The use of the outer loop allows more observations to be assimilated and produces more accurate analyses. The assimilation of additional nonlinear GPS radio occultation (RO) observations over the western North Pacific Ocean, where traditional observational data are lacking, is particularly useful. With the lack of observations over the tropical and subtropical oceans, the error in the first-guess field (which is based on a 6-h forecast of the previous cycle) will continue to grow in a full-cycling limited-area data assimilation system. Even though the use of partial cycling only shows a slight improvement in typhoon track forecast after 12 h, it has the benefit of suppressing the growth of the systematic model error. A typhoon prediction model using the Advanced Research core of the WRF (WRF-ARW) and the WRF 3DVAR system with outer loop and partial cycling substantially improves the typhoon track forecast. This system, known as Typhoon WRF (TWRF), has been in use by CWB since 2010 for operational typhoon predictions.

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Ling-Feng Hsiao
,
Xiang-Yu Huang
,
Ying-Hwa Kuo
,
Der-Song Chen
,
Hongli Wang
,
Chin-Cheng Tsai
,
Tien-Chiang Yeh
,
Jing-Shan Hong
,
Chin-Tzu Fong
, and
Cheng-Shang Lee

Abstract

A blending method to merge the NCEP global analysis with the regional analysis from the WRF variational data assimilation system is implemented using a spatial filter for the purpose of initializing the Typhoon WRF (TWRF) Model, which has been in operation at Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau (CWB) since 2010. The blended analysis is weighted toward the NCEP global analysis for scales greater than the cutoff length of 1200 km, and is weighted toward the WRF regional analysis for length below that. TWRF forecast experiments on 19 typhoons from July to October 2013 over the western North Pacific Ocean show that the large-scale analysis from NCEP GFS is superior to that of the regional analysis, which significantly improves the typhoon track forecasts. On the other hand, the regional WRF analysis provides a well-developed typhoon structure and more accurately captures the influence of the Taiwan topography on the typhoon circulation. As a result, the blended analysis takes advantage of the large-scale analysis from the NCEP global analysis and the detailed mesoscale analysis from the regional WRF analysis. In additional to the improved track forecast, the blended analysis also provides more accurate rainfall forecasts for typhoons affecting Taiwan. Because of the improved performance, the blending method has been implemented in the CWB operational TWRF typhoon prediction system.

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