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Kao-Shen Chung
and
I-An Yao

Abstract

Severe weather nowcasting is a crucial mission of atmospheric science for the betterment of society to save life, limb, and property. In this study, composite radar data from the Central Weather Bureau of 16 typhoons are collected to examine the statistical performance of the McGill Algorithm for Precipitation nowcasting using Lagrangian Extrapolation (MAPLE) over Taiwan, an extrapolation algorithm that predicts future precipitation based on current radar echoes. In addition, instead of mixing the precipitation between radar extrapolation and numerical model forecast as in previous studies, a blending system is formed by synthesizing the wind information from model forecast with the echo extrapolation motion field via a variational algorithm to improve the nowcasting system. The statistical results of the radar echo extrapolation for 16 typhoon cases show that while the quantitative precipitation nowcasting skill can persist for up to 2 h, significant distortion for the rotational system is found after 2 h. On the other hand, the blending system helps to capture and maintain the rotation of typhoon rainband structures. The blending system extends the nowcasting skill by 1 h to a total of 3 h. Furthermore, the blending scheme performs especially well after the typhoon makes landfall in Taiwan. For disaster prevention and mitigation, this blending nowcasting technique may provide effective weather information immediately.

Open access
Scott Collis
,
Alain Protat
, and
Kao-Shen Chung

Abstract

This article investigates the source and impact of artifacts produced by ordered linear interpolation techniques on variationally retrieved updraft intensities. Qualitative reasoning for the generation of periodic perturbations in gridded products is presented, and a simple analytical investigation into the impact of gridding artifacts on updraft retrieval is carried out. By projecting a nonconvergent flow typical of Darwin, Australia, onto the viewing geometry of a scanning radar, a numerical assessment of the impact of gridding artifacts is carried out. A simple enhancement to ordered linear interpolation, mixed-order linear interpolation, is proposed to reduce gridding artifacts. Radial velocity grids produced using both techniques are used to investigate the generation of spurious updrafts, with the simple ordered linear interpolation technique producing erroneous updrafts on the order of 2 m s−1. To investigate the impact on vertical velocities retrieved from a real weather event, radar-derived measurements taken during the active monsoon phase of Tropical Warm Pool International Cloud Experiment are gridded using both techniques, and vertical velocities are retrieved and contrasted.

Full access
Kao-Shen Chung
,
Isztar Zawadzki
,
M. K. Yau
, and
Luc Fillion

Abstract

The McGill University radar data assimilation system is used to initialize a convective storm at high resolution (1 km) from single–Doppler radar observations. In this study, the background term in the assimilation system is improved. Specifically, by assuming the correlation of the errors of the control variables to be isotropic and homogeneous, the background error covariance matrix is modeled by a recursive filter. In addition, a 3-h-prior high-resolution model forecast is used as the background field. The analysis fields from the assimilation system successfully trigger the convective storms in the radar-observed regions from a single assimilation window. Without data assimilation, the modeled storms did not occur at the right time and place. To account for the rapid evolution of the convective storms and to correct the forecast errors with time, a cycling process is applied for a very short-term forecast. It is found that the first assimilation window can maintain the prediction of the storms for less than 1 h. The cycling process helps to maintain the intensity of the storm cells for a longer period of time. However, a comparison of radar observations with the 90-min simulation indicates an error in the position of the convective cells. The error of the radial component of the wind field between the observation and the simulation is larger at the upper levels. A wavelet analysis between the observation and simulated reflectivities indicates that the forecast is able to adequately predict the convective scale (∼10–20 km) during the first 20 min, whereas the simulation has more predictability at the longer scale (>30 km) beyond 20 min.

Full access
Kao-Shen Chung
,
Weiguang Chang
,
Luc Fillion
, and
Monique Tanguay

Abstract

A high-resolution ensemble Kalman filter (HREnKF) system at the convective scale has been developed based on the Canadian Meteorological Center's operational global ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) system. This study focuses on the very early stage of transition from purely homogeneous isotropic background error correlations to situation-dependent correlations. It has been found that forecast error structures can develop situation-dependent features in as little as 15 min. Furthermore, the dynamic and thermodynamic variables require different periods of time to build up their own forecast error structures. Differences in these structures between regions with and without precipitation are also investigated. An examination of temperature tendencies revealed that physical processes are as important as dynamical forcing in determining the structure of convective-scale errors structures, and that once physical processes become active, these structures change rapidly before the onset of precipitation. This study is intended to be the basis for a systematic exploration in the near future of the usefulness of the HREnKF system in assimilating high-density observations such as radar data.

Full access
Yu-Chieng Liou
,
Tai-Chi Chen Wang
, and
Kao-Shen Chung

Abstract

A newly designed retrieval scheme based on three-dimensional variational analysis is used to extract the thermodynamic field of a weather system from Doppler wind measurements. As compared with the traditional retrieval method, with this formulation the proposed scheme is able to find a set of optimal solutions for the pressure and buoyancy perturbations that, in the least squares sense, will simultaneously satisfy three momentum equations and a simplified thermodynamic equation. Therefore, the products of the retrieval are the complete thermodynamic fields in three dimensions. To test the performance of this method in real cases, it is applied to the analysis of a subtropical squall line. The required wind data were synthesized by two C-band Doppler radars during the 1987 Taiwan Area Mesoscale Experiment (TAMEX). The emphasis of this study is devoted to an examination of the validity of the retrieved thermodynamic structure, especially along the vertical direction. The results indicate that the distributions of the retrieved thermodynamic parameters are consistent with the kinematic structure and can be reasonably explained by the conceptual model of a squall line. Evidence is collected that strongly supports the validity of the derived thermodynamic structure. Thus, the applicability of this new retrieval scheme is demonstrated.

Full access
Weiguang Chang
,
Kao-Shen Chung
,
Luc Fillion
, and
Seung-Jong Baek

Abstract

An 80-member high-resolution ensemble Kalman filter (HREnKF) is implemented for assimilating radar observations with the Canadian Meteorological Center’s (CMC’s) Global Environmental Multiscale Limited-Area Model (GEM-LAM). This system covers the Montréal, Canada, region and assimilates radar data from the McGill Radar Observatory with 4-km data thinning. The GEM-LAM operates in fully nonhydrostatic mode with 58 hybrid vertical levels and 1-km horizontal grid spacing. As a first step toward full radar data assimilation, only radial velocities are directly assimilated in this study. The HREnKF is applied on three 2011 summer cases having different precipitation structures: squall-line structure, isolated small-scale structures, and widespread stratiform precipitation. The short-term (<2 h) accuracy of the HREnKF analyses and forecasts is examined.

In HREnKF, the ensemble spread is sufficient to cover the estimated error from innovations and lead to filter convergence. It results in part from a realistic initiation of HREnKF data assimilation cycle by using a Canadian regional EnKF system (itself coupled to a global EnKF) working at meso- and synoptic scales. The filter convergence is confirmed by the HREnKF background fields gradually approaching to radar observations as the assimilation cycling proceeds. At each analysis step, it is clearly shown that unobserved variables are significantly modified through HREnKF cross correlation of errors from the ensemble. Radar reflectivity observations are used to verify the improvements in analyses and short-term forecasts achievable by assimilating only radial velocities. Further developments of the analysis system are discussed.

Full access
Chieh-Ying Ke
,
Kao-Shen Chung
,
Yu-Chieng Liou
, and
Chih-Chien Tsai

Abstract

This study examined the impact of assimilating 3D temperature and water vapor information in addition to radar observations in a multiscale weather system. A frontal system with extremely heavy rainfall over northern Taiwan was selected. Using the WRF–LETKF Radar Assimilation System, we performed three sets of observing system simulation experiments to assimilate radar observations with or without thermodynamic variables obtained using different methods. First, assimilating the radar data for 2 h showed better structure and short-term forecast than 1 h. Second, we assimilated radar data and thermodynamic variables from a perfect model simulation. The results of the analysis revealed that when a precipitation position error occurred in the background field, assimilating thermodynamic information with the radar data could correct the dynamic structure and shorten the spinup assimilation period, resulting in substantial improvements to the quantitative precipitation forecast. Third, we applied a thermodynamics retrieval algorithm for a feasibility study. With a warm and wet bias of the retrieved fields, assimilating the temperature data had significant impact on the midlevel of stratiform areas and the forecast of the heavy rainfall was consequently improved. Assimilating the water vapor information helped reconstruct the range and intensity of the cold pool, but the improvement of rainfall forecast was limited. The optimal results of analysis and short-term forecast were achieved when both retrieved temperature and water vapor fields were assimilated. In conclusion, assimilating thermodynamic variables in the precipitation system is feasible for shortening the spinup period of data assimilation and improving the analysis and short-term forecast.

Open access
Dominik Jacques
,
Weiguang Chang
,
Seung-Jong Baek
,
Thomas Milewski
,
Luc Fillion
,
Kao-Shen Chung
, and
Harold Ritchie

Abstract

This study discusses the construction of a high-resolution ensemble Kalman filter system (the HREnKF) developed for the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) network. The HREnKF runs at a horizontal resolution of 2.5 km and is intended to provide forecasts at lead times up to 12 h. This system was adapted from the global EnKF system in operation at Environment and Climate Change Canada. As a first development step, only the most necessary modifications have been implemented. The changes include an hourly cycling frequency, smaller localization radii, and the explicit representation of microphysical processes. To assess its performance and orient future developments, the HREnKF was continuously cycled for a period of 12 days. Verification against surface observations reveals that the skill of the forecasts initialized from the HREnKF is comparable to that of control forecasts also integrated at a resolution of 2.5 km. A key component of this study is the comparison of correlation estimated from ensembles at resolutions of 2.5, 15, and 50 km. At 2.5 km, correlation lengths are smaller than those found at 15 and 50 km. These short correlation lengths demand a high observational density, which is not available over the west coast domain where the HREnKF was tested. The spatial and temporal variability of the correlations is also assessed for the HREnKF system. It is found that correlation patterns are complex and do not generally decrease monotonically away from the reference point around which they are estimated. This result is important as it indicates that separation distance may not be the ideal parameter to use as a basis for localization strategies.

Full access
Phuong-Nghi Do
,
Kao-Shen Chung
,
Pay-Liam Lin
,
Ching-Yin Ke
, and
Scott M. Ellis

Abstract

This study investigated the effect of the assimilation of the S- and Ka-band dual‐wavelength-retrieved water vapor data with radial wind and reflectivity data. The vertical profile of humidity, which provides environmental information before precipitation occurs, was obtained at low levels and thinned into averaged and four-quadrant profiles. Additionally, the following two strategies were examined: 1) assimilation of water vapor data with radar data for the entire 2 h and 2) assimilation of water vapor data in the first hour, and radial velocity and reflectivity data in the second hour. By using the WRF local ensemble transform Kalman filter data assimilation system, three real cases of the Dynamics of the Madden–Julian Oscillation experiment were examined through a series of experiments. The analysis results revealed that assimilating additional water vapor data more markedly improved the analysis at the convective scale than assimilating radial wind and reflectivity data alone. In addition, the strategy of assimilating only retrieved water vapor data in the first hour and radial wind and reflectivity data in the second hour achieved the optimal analysis and subsequent very short-term forecast. The evaluation of quantitative precipitation forecasting demonstrated that assimilating additional retrieved water vapor data distinctly improved the rain forecast compared with assimilating radar data only. When moisture data were assimilated, improved nowcasting could be extended up to 4 h. Furthermore, assimilating moisture profiles into four quadrants achieved more accurate analysis and forecast. Overall, our study demonstrated that the humidify information in nonprecipitation areas is critical for further improving the analysis and forecast of convective weather systems.

Open access
Chin-Hung Chen
,
Kao-Shen Chung
,
Shu-Chih Yang
,
Li-Hsin Chen
,
Pay-Liam Lin
, and
Ryan D. Torn

Abstract

A mesoscale convective system that occurred in southwestern Taiwan on 15 June 2008 is simulated using convection-allowing ensemble forecasts to investigate the forecast uncertainty associated with four microphysics schemes—the Goddard Cumulus Ensemble (GCE), Morrison (MOR), WRF single-moment 6-class (WSM6), and WRF double-moment 6-class (WDM6) schemes. First, the essential features of the convective structure, hydrometeor distribution, and microphysical tendencies for the different microphysics schemes are presented through deterministic forecasts. Second, ensemble forecasts with the same initial conditions are employed to estimate the forecast uncertainty produced by the different ensembles with the fixed microphysics scheme. GCE has the largest spread in most state variables due to its most efficient phase conversion between water species. By contrast, MOR results in the least spread. WSM6 and WDM6 have similar vertical spread structures due to their similar ice-phase formulas. However, WDM6 produces more ensemble spread than WSM6 does below the melting layer, resulting from its double-moment treatment of warm rain processes. The model simulations with the four microphysics schemes demonstrate upscale error growth through spectrum analysis of the root-mean difference total energy (RMDTE). The RMDTE results reveal that the GCE and WDM6 schemes are more sensitive to initial condition uncertainty, whereas the MOR and WSM6 schemes are relatively less sensitive to that for this event. Overall, the diabatic heating–cooling processes connect the convective-scale cloud microphysical processes to the large-scale dynamical and thermodynamical fields, and they significantly affect the forecast error signatures in the multiscale weather system.

Open access