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Pius Lee, Daiwen Kang, Jeff McQueen, Marina Tsidulko, Mary Hart, Geoff DiMego, Nelson Seaman, and Paula Davidson

Abstract

This study investigates the impact of model domain extent and the specification of lateral boundary conditions on the forecast quality of air pollution constituents in a specific region of interest. A developmental version of the national Air Quality Forecast System (AQFS) has been used in this study. The AQFS is based on the NWS/NCEP Eta Model (recently renamed the North American Mesoscale Model) coupled with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model. This coupled Eta–CMAQ modeling system provided experimental air quality forecasts for the northeastern region of the United States during the summers of 2003 and 2004. The initial forecast over the northeastern United States was approved for operational deployment in September 2004. The AQFS will provide forecast coverage for the entire United States in the near future. In a continuing program of phased development to extend the geographical coverage of the forecast, the developmental version of AQFS has undergone two domain expansions. Hereinafter, this “developmental” domain-expanded forecast system AQFS will be dubbed AQFS-β. The current study evaluates the performance of AQFS-β for the northeastern United States using three domain sizes. Quantitative comparisons of forecast results with compiled observation data from the U.S. Aerometric Information Retrieval Now (AIRNOW) network were performed for each model domain, and interdomain comparisons were made for the regions of overlap. Several forecast skill score measures have been employed. Based on the categorical statistical metric of the critical success index, the largest domain achieved the highest skill score. This conclusion should catapult the implementation of the largest domain to attain the best forecast performance whenever the operational resource and criteria permit.

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Shun Liu, Geoff DiMego, Shucai Guan, V. Krishna Kumar, Dennis Keyser, Qin Xu, Kang Nai, Pengfei Zhang, Liping Liu, Jian Zhang, Kenneth Howard, and Jeff Ator

Abstract

Real-time access to level II radar data became available in May 2005 at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Central Operations (NCO). Using these real-time data in operational data assimilation requires the data be processed reliably and efficiently through rigorous data quality controls. To this end, advanced radar data quality control techniques developed at the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) are combined into a comprehensive radar data processing system at NCEP. Techniques designed to create a high-resolution reflectivity mosaic developed at the NSSL are also adopted and installed within the NCEP radar data processing system to generate hourly 3D reflectivity mosaics and 2D-derived products. The processed radar radial velocity and 3D reflectivity mosaics are ingested into NCEP’s data assimilation systems to improve operational numerical weather predictions. The 3D reflectivity mosaics and 2D-derived products are also used for verification of high-resolution numerical weather prediction. The NCEP radar data processing system is described.

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Jamie K. Wolff, Michelle Harrold, Tracy Hertneky, Eric Aligo, Jacob R. Carley, Brad Ferrier, Geoff DiMego, Louisa Nance, and Ying-Hwa Kuo

Abstract

A wide range of numerical weather prediction (NWP) innovations are under development in the research community that have the potential to positively impact operational models. The Developmental Testbed Center (DTC) helps facilitate the transition of these innovations from research to operations (R2O). With the large number of innovations available in the research community, it is critical to clearly define a testing protocol to streamline the R2O process. The DTC has defined such a process that relies on shared responsibilities of the researchers, the DTC, and operational centers to test promising new NWP advancements. As part of the first stage of this process, the DTC instituted the mesoscale model evaluation testbed (MMET), which established a common testing framework to assist the research community in demonstrating the merits of developments. The ability to compare performance across innovations for critical cases provides a mechanism for selecting the most promising capabilities for further testing. If the researcher demonstrates improved results using MMET, then the innovation may be considered for the second stage of comprehensive testing and evaluation (T&E) prior to entering the final stage of preimplementation T&E.

MMET provides initialization and observation datasets for several case studies and multiday periods. In addition, the DTC provides baseline results for select operational configurations that use the Advanced Research version of Weather Research and Forecasting Model (ARW) or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Environmental Modeling System Nonhydrostatic Multiscale Model on the B grid (NEMS-NMMB). These baselines can be used for testing sensitivities to different model versions or configurations in order to improve forecast performance.

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Tanya L. Otte, George Pouliot, Jonathan E. Pleim, Jeffrey O. Young, Kenneth L. Schere, David C. Wong, Pius C. S. Lee, Marina Tsidulko, Jeffery T. McQueen, Paula Davidson, Rohit Mathur, Hui-Ya Chuang, Geoff DiMego, and Nelson L. Seaman

Abstract

NOAA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have developed a national air quality forecasting (AQF) system that is based on numerical models for meteorology, emissions, and chemistry. The AQF system generates gridded model forecasts of ground-level ozone (O3) that can help air quality forecasters to predict and alert the public of the onset, severity, and duration of poor air quality conditions. Although AQF efforts have existed in metropolitan centers for many years, this AQF system provides a national numerical guidance product and the first-ever air quality forecasts for many (predominantly rural) areas of the United States. The AQF system is currently based on NCEP’s Eta Model and the EPA’s Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) modeling system. The AQF system, which was implemented into operations at the National Weather Service in September of 2004, currently generates twice-daily forecasts of O3 for the northeastern United States at 12-km horizontal grid spacing. Preoperational testing to support the 2003 and 2004 O3 forecast seasons showed that the AQF system provided valuable guidance that could be used in the air quality forecast process. The AQF system will be expanded over the next several years to include a nationwide domain, a capability for forecasting fine particle pollution, and a longer forecast period. State and local agencies will now issue air quality forecasts that are based, in part, on guidance from the AQF system. This note describes the process and software components used to link the Eta Model and CMAQ for the national AQF system, discusses several technical and logistical issues that were considered, and provides examples of O3 forecasts from the AQF system.

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Yihong Duan, Jiandong Gong, Jun Du, Martin Charron, Jing Chen, Guo Deng, Geoff DiMego, Masahiro Hara, Masaru Kunii, Xiaoli Li, Yinglin Li, Kazuo Saito, Hiromu Seko, Yong Wang, and Christoph Wittmann

The Beijing 2008 Olympics Research and Development Project (B08RDP), initiated in 2004 under the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) World Weather Research Programme (WWRP), undertook the research and development of mesoscale ensemble prediction systems (MEPSs) and their application to weather forecast support during the Beijing Olympic Games. Six MEPSs from six countries, representing the state-of-the-art regional EPSs with near-real-time capabilities and emphasizing on the 6–36-h forecast lead times, participated in the project.

The background, objectives, and implementation of B08RDP, as well as the six MEPSs, are reviewed. The accomplishments are summarized, which include 1) providing value-added service to the Olympic Games, 2) advancing MEPS-related research, 3) accelerating the transition from research to operations, and 4) training forecasters in utilizing forecast uncertainty products. The B08RDP has fulfilled its research (MEPS development) and demonstration (value-added service) purposes. The research conducted covers the areas of verification, examining the value of MEPS relative to other numerical weather prediction (NWP) systems, combining multimodel or multicenter ensembles, bias correction, ensemble perturbations [initial condition (IC), lateral boundary condition (LBC), land surface IC, and model physics], downscaling, forecast applications, data assimilation, and storm-scale ensemble modeling. Seven scientific issues important to MEPS have been identified. It is recognized that the daily use of forecast uncertainty information by forecasters remains a challenge. Development of forecaster-friendly products and training activities should be a long-term effort and needs to be continuously enhanced.

The B08RDP dataset is also a valuable asset to the research community. The experience gained in international collaboration, organization, and implementation of a multination regional EPS for a common goal and to address common scientific issues can be shared by the ongoing projects The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) Interactive Grand Global Ensemble—Limited Area Models (TIGGE-LAM) and North American Ensemble Forecast System—Limited Area Models (NAEFS-LAM).

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Fedor Mesinger, Geoff DiMego, Eugenia Kalnay, Kenneth Mitchell, Perry C. Shafran, Wesley Ebisuzaki, Dušan Jović, Jack Woollen, Eric Rogers, Ernesto H. Berbery, Michael B. Ek, Yun Fan, Robert Grumbine, Wayne Higgins, Hong Li, Ying Lin, Geoff Manikin, David Parrish, and Wei Shi

In 1997, during the late stages of production of NCEP–NCAR Global Reanalysis (GR), exploration of a regional reanalysis project was suggested by the GR project's Advisory Committee, “particularly if the RDAS [Regional Data Assimilation System] is significantly better than the global reanalysis at capturing the regional hydrological cycle, the diurnal cycle and other important features of weather and climate variability.” Following a 6-yr development and production effort, NCEP's North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) project was completed in 2004, and data are now available to the scientific community. Along with the use of the NCEP Eta model and its Data Assimilation System (at 32-km–45-layer resolution with 3-hourly output), the hallmarks of the NARR are the incorporation of hourly assimilation of precipitation, which leverages a comprehensive precipitation analysis effort, the use of a recent version of the Noah land surface model, and the use of numerous other datasets that are additional or improved compared to the GR. Following the practice applied to NCEP's GR, the 25-yr NARR retrospective production period (1979–2003) is augmented by the construction and daily execution of a system for near-real-time continuation of the NARR, known as the Regional Climate Data Assimilation System (R-CDAS). Highlights of the NARR results are presented: precipitation over the continental United States (CONUS), which is seen to be very near the ingested analyzed precipitation; fits of tropospheric temperatures and winds to rawinsonde observations; and fits of 2-m temperatures and 10-m winds to surface station observations. The aforementioned fits are compared to those of the NCEP–Department of Energy (DOE) Global Reanalysis (GR2). Not only have the expectations cited above been fully met, but very substantial improvements in the accuracy of temperatures and winds compared to that of GR2 are achieved throughout the troposphere. Finally, the numerous datasets produced are outlined and information is provided on the data archiving and present data availability.

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Manuel S. F. V. De Pondeca, Geoffrey S. Manikin, Geoff DiMego, Stanley G. Benjamin, David F. Parrish, R. James Purser, Wan-Shu Wu, John D. Horel, David T. Myrick, Ying Lin, Robert M. Aune, Dennis Keyser, Brad Colman, Greg Mann, and Jamie Vavra

Abstract

In 2006, the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) implemented the Real-Time Mesoscale Analysis (RTMA) in collaboration with the Earth System Research Laboratory and the National Environmental, Satellite, and Data Information Service (NESDIS). In this work, a description of the RTMA applied to the 5-km resolution conterminous U.S. grid of the National Digital Forecast Database is given. Its two-dimensional variational data assimilation (2DVAR) component used to analyze near-surface observations is described in detail, and a brief discussion of the remapping of the NCEP stage II quantitative precipitation amount and NESDIS Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) sounder effective cloud amount to the 5-km grid is offered. Terrain-following background error covariances are used with the 2DVAR approach, which produces gridded fields of 2-m temperature, 2-m specific humidity, 2-m dewpoint, 10-m U and V wind components, and surface pressure. The estimate of the analysis uncertainty via the Lanczos method is briefly described. The strength of the 2DVAR is illustrated by (i) its ability to analyze a June 2007 cold temperature pool over the Washington, D.C., area; (ii) its fairly good analysis of a December 2008 mid-Atlantic region high-wind event that started from a very weak first guess; and (iii) its successful recovery of the finescale moisture features in a January 2010 case study over southern California. According to a cross-validation analysis for a 15-day period during November 2009, root-mean-square error improvements over the first guess range from 16% for wind speed to 45% for specific humidity.

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