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Florian Pantillon, Peter Knippertz, John H. Marsham, and Cathryn E. Birch

Abstract

Cold pool outflows, generated by downdrafts from moist convection, can generate strong winds and therefore uplift of mineral dust. These so-called haboob convective dust storms occur over all major dust source areas worldwide and contribute substantially to emissions in northern Africa, the world’s largest source. Most large-scale models lack convective dust storms because they do not resolve moist convection, relying instead on convection schemes. The authors suggest a parameterization of convective dust storms to account for their contribution in such large-scale models. The parameterization is based on a simple conceptual model, in which the downdraft mass flux from the convection scheme spreads out radially in a cylindrical cold pool. The parameterization is tested with a set of Met Office Unified Model runs for June and July 2006 over West Africa. It is calibrated with a convection-permitting run and applied to a convection-parameterized run. The parameterization successfully produces the extensive area of dust-generating winds from cold pool outflows over the southern Sahara. However, this area extends farther to the east and dust-generating winds occur earlier in the day than in the convection-permitting run. These biases are caused by biases in the convection scheme. It is found that the location and timing of dust-generating winds are weakly sensitive to the parameters of the conceptual model. The results demonstrate that a simple parameterization has the potential to correct a major and long-standing limitation in global dust models.

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Florian P. Pantillon, Jean-Pierre Chaboureau, Patrick J. Mascart, and Christine Lac

Abstract

The extratropical transition (ET) of a tropical cyclone is known as a source of forecast uncertainty that can propagate far downstream. The present study focuses on the predictability of a Mediterranean tropical-like storm (Medicane) on 26 September 2006 downstream of the ET of Hurricane Helene from 22 to 25 September. While the development of the Medicane was missed in the deterministic forecasts from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) initialized before and during ET, it was contained in the ECMWF ensemble forecasts in more than 10% of the 50 members up to 108-h lead time. The 200 ensemble members initialized at 0000 UTC from 20 to 23 September were clustered into two nearly equiprobable scenarios after the synoptic situation over the Mediterranean. In the first and verifying scenario, Helene was steered northeastward by an upstream trough during ET and contributed to the building of a downstream ridge. A trough elongated farther downstream toward Italy and enabled the development of the Medicane in 9 of 102 members. In the second and nonverifying scenario, Helene turned southeastward during ET and the downstream ridge building was reduced. A large-scale low over the British Isles dominated the circulation in Europe and only 1 of 98 members forecasted the Medicane. The two scenarios resulted from a different phasing between Helene and the upstream trough. Sensitivity experiments performed with the Méso-NH model further revealed that initial perturbations targeted on Helene and the upstream trough were sufficient in forecasting the warm-core Medicane at 84- and 108-h lead time.

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Florian Pantillon, Bianca Adler, Ulrich Corsmeier, Peter Knippertz, Andreas Wieser, and Akio Hansen

Abstract

Damaging gusts in windstorms are represented by crude subgrid-scale parameterizations in today’s weather and climate models. This limitation motivated the Wind and Storms Experiment (WASTEX) in winter 2016–17 in the Upper Rhine Valley over southwestern Germany. Gusts recorded at an instrumented tower during the passage of extratropical cyclone “Thomas” on 23 February 2017 are investigated based on measurements of radial wind with ≈70-m along-beam spacing from a fast-scanning Doppler lidar and realistic large-eddy simulations with grid spacings down to 78 m using the Icosahedral Nonhydrostatic model. Four wind peaks occur due to the storm onset, the cold front, a precipitation line, and isolated showers. The first peak is related to a sudden drop in dewpoint and results from the downward mixing of a low-level jet and a dry layer within the warm sector characterized by extremely high temperatures for the season. While operational convection-permitting forecasts poorly predict the storm onset overall, a successful ensemble member highlights the role of upstream orography. Lidar observations reveal the presence of long-lasting wind structures that result from a combination of convection- and shear-driven instability. Large-eddy simulations contain structures elongated in the wind direction that are qualitatively similar but too coarse compared to the observed ones. Their size is found to exceed the effective model resolution by one order of magnitude due to their elongation. These results emphasize the need for subkilometer-scale measuring and modeling systems to improve the representation of gusts in windstorms.

Open access
Joaquim G. Pinto, Florian Pantillon, Patrick Ludwig, Madeleine-Sophie Déroche, Giovanni Leoncini, Christoph C. Raible, Len C. Shaffrey, and David B. Stephenson
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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.

Open access