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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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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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