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John Methven and Hylke de Vries
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Siebren de Haan, Gert-Jan Marseille, Paul de Valk, and John de Vries

Abstract

Denial experiments, also denoted observing system experiments (OSEs), are used to determine the impact of an observing system on the forecast quality of a numerical weather prediction (NWP) model. When the impact is neutral or positive, new observations from this observing system may be admitted to an operational forecasting system based on that NWP model. A drawback of the method applied in most denial experiments is that it neglects the operational time constraint on the delivery of observations. In a 10-week twin experiment with the operational High-Resolution Limited-Area Model (HIRLAM) at KNMI, the impact of additional ocean surface wind observations from the Advanced Scatterometer (ASCAT) on the forecast quality of the model has been verified under operational conditions. In the experiment, the operational model was used as reference, parallel to an augmented system in which the ASCAT winds were assimilated actively. Objective verification of the forecast with independent wind observations from moored buoys and ASCAT winds revealed a slight improvement in forecast skill as measured by a decrease in observation-minus-forecast standard deviation in the wind components for the short range (up to 24 h). A subjective analysis in a case study showed a realistic deepening of a low pressure system over the North Atlantic near the coast of Ireland through the assimilation of scatterometer data that were verified with radiosonde observations over Ireland. Based on these results, the decision was made to include ASCAT in operations at the next upgrade of the forecasting system.

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Hylke de Vries, John Methven, Thomas H. A. Frame, and Brian J. Hoskins

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A theoretical framework is developed for the evolution of baroclinic waves with latent heat release parameterized in terms of vertical velocity. Both wave–conditional instability of the second kind (CISK) and large-scale rain approaches are included. The new quasigeostrophic framework covers evolution from general initial conditions on zonal flows with vertical shear, planetary vorticity gradient, a lower boundary, and a tropopause. The formulation is given completely in terms of potential vorticity, enabling the partition of perturbations into Rossby wave components, just as for the dry problem. Both modal and nonmodal development can be understood to a good approximation in terms of propagation and interaction between these components alone. The key change with moisture is that growing normal modes are described in terms of four counterpropagating Rossby wave (CRW) components rather than two. Moist CRWs exist above and below the maximum in latent heating, in addition to the upper- and lower-level CRWs of dry theory. Four classifications of baroclinic development are defined by quantifying the strength of interaction between the four components and identifying the dominant pairs, which range from essentially dry instability to instability in the limit of strong heating far from boundaries, with type-C cyclogenesis and diabatic Rossby waves being intermediate types. General initial conditions must also include passively advected residual PV, as in the dry problem.

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Jur Vogelzang, Ad Stoffelen, Anton Verhoef, John de Vries, and Hans Bonekamp

Abstract

A two-dimensional variational ambiguity removal technique (2DVAR) is presented. It first makes an analysis based on the ambiguous scatterometer wind vector solutions and a model forecast, and next selects the ambiguity closest to the analysis as solution. 2DVAR is applied on SeaWinds scatterometer data and its merits for nowcasting applications are shown in a general statistical comparison with model forecasts and buoy observations, and in a number of case studies. The sensitivity of 2DVAR to changes in the parameters of its underlying error model is studied. It is shown that observational noise in the nadir swath of SeaWinds is effectively suppressed by application of 2DVAR in combination with the multisolution scheme (MSS). MSS retains the local wind vector probability density function after inversion, rather than only a limited number of ambiguous solutions. As a consequence, the influence of the background increases, but this can be mitigated by switching off variational quality control. A case study on an extratropical cyclone of hurricane force intensity observed with SeaWinds at 25-km resolution shows that reliable wind estimates can be obtained for wind speeds up to 40 m s−1 and more. At 25 km, the results of 2DVAR with MSS compare better with buoy measurements than with the ECMWF model. At 100-km resolution this is reversed, proving that 2DVAR retrieves small-scale features absent in the ECMWF model.

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Hylke de Vries, John Methven, Thomas H. A. Frame, and Brian J. Hoskins

Abstract

In the Eady model, where the meridional potential vorticity (PV) gradient is zero, perturbation energy growth can be partitioned cleanly into three mechanisms: (i) shear instability, (ii) resonance, and (iii) the Orr mechanism. Shear instability involves two-way interaction between Rossby edge waves on the ground and lid, resonance occurs as interior PV anomalies excite the edge waves, and the Orr mechanism involves only interior PV anomalies. These mechanisms have distinct implications for the structural and temporal linear evolution of perturbations.

Here, a new framework is developed in which the same mechanisms can be distinguished for growth on basic states with nonzero interior PV gradients. It is further shown that the evolution from quite general initial conditions can be accurately described (peak error in perturbation total energy typically less than 10%) by a reduced system that involves only three Rossby wave components. Two of these are counterpropagating Rossby waves—that is, generalizations of the Rossby edge waves when the interior PV gradient is nonzero—whereas the other component depends on the structure of the initial condition and its PV is advected passively with the shear flow. In the cases considered, the three-component model outperforms approximate solutions based on truncating a modal or singular vector basis.

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