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Leonhard Scheck, Sarah C. Jones, and Martin Juckes

Abstract

The influence of frontal waves on the interaction of a tropical cyclone and a tropopause front is investigated in an idealized framework. In a nondivergent barotropic model the front is represented by a vorticity step with a superimposed sinusoidal perturbation. This gives rise to a jet that meanders to the north and south and can be viewed as a sequence of upper-level troughs and ridges. The model evolution depends sensitively on the position of the cyclone relative to the troughs and ridges. Here a bifurcation point is identified that is located on the trough axis at a distance where the zonal speed of the background flow equals the phase speed of the wave. Arbitrarily small displacements from this position determine whether a cyclone is advected toward the front or repelled. Only a limited range of wavelengths can lead to track bifurcations. The largest effects are obtained for resonant frontal waves propagating with a phase speed matching the initial zonal translation speed of the cyclone. Weak and large-scale vortices can be disrupted when approaching the bifurcation point, where they are exposed to continuously strong shear deformation.

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Leonhard Scheck, Sarah C. Jones, and Martin Juckes

Abstract

The interaction of a tropical cyclone and a zonally aligned tropopause front is investigated in an idealized framework. A nondivergent barotropic model is used in which the front is represented by a vorticity step, giving a jetlike velocity profile. The excitation of frontal waves by a cyclone located south of the front and the impact of the wave flow on the cyclone motion is studied for different representations of the cyclone and the jet. The evolution from the initial wave excitation until after the cyclone has crossed the front is discussed. The interaction becomes stronger with increasing jet speed. For cyclone representations containing negative relative vorticity, anticyclones develop and can influence the excitation of frontal waves significantly. Resonant frontal waves propagating with a phase speed matching the zonal translation speed of the cyclone are decisive for the interaction. The frontal wave spectrum excited by a cyclone on the front is dominated by waves that are in resonance in the initial phase. These waves have the largest impact on the cyclone motion.

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Leonhard Scheck, Sarah C. Jones, and Vincent Heuveline

Abstract

In this study the structure and evolution of singular vectors (SVs) for stable and unstable hurricane-like vortices in background flows with horizontal shear are investigated on f and β planes using a nondivergent barotropic model. With increasing shear strength, the singular values for stable vortices increase and the sensitive regions extend farther away from the vortex. The formation of β gyres leads to significant changes in the SV structure but has only weak influence on the singular values. For sufficiently strong anticyclonic shear, the initial SVs are aligned with streamlines connected to stagnation points. The evolved SVs are dominated by dipole structures, indicating a displacement of the vortex. The displacement is caused by the circulation associated with the initial SV perturbation outside of the vortex core, which grows by untilting and unshielding. This process is strongly enhanced by anticyclonic background shear. For both cyclonic and anticyclonic shear, the displacement by the perturbation circulation causes an additional displacement that is proportional to the shear strength. The shear-enhanced barotropic growth mechanism in stable vortices results in singular values that are comparable to those for unstable vortices without background shear. Perturbation growth involving the normal mode in barotropically unstable vortices suffers from background shear. The shear-induced modifications of the outer vortex regions cause a strong decrease of the singular value with increasing shear. For sufficiently strong shear, the SVs for unstable vortices grow by the same mechanism as for stable vortices.

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Leonhard Scheck, Martin Weissmann, and Bernhard Mayer

Abstract

Visible satellite images contain high-resolution information about clouds that would be well suited for convective-scale data assimilation. This application requires a forward operator to generate synthetic images from the output of numerical weather prediction models. Only recently have 1D radiative transfer (RT) solvers become sufficiently fast for this purpose. Here computationally efficient methods are proposed to increase the accuracy and consistency of an operator based on the Method for Fast Satellite Image Synthesis (MFASIS) 1D RT. Two important problems are addressed: the 3D RT effects related to inclined cloud tops and the overlap of subgrid clouds. It is demonstrated that in a rotated frame of reference, an approximate solution for the 3D RT problem can be obtained by solving a computationally much cheaper 1D RT problem. Several deterministic and stochastic schemes that take the overlap of subgrid clouds into account are discussed. The impact of the inclination correction and the overlap schemes is evaluated for synthetic 0.6-μm SEVIRI images computed from operational forecasts of the German-focused COSMO (COSMO-DE) Model for a test period in May–June 2016. The cloud-top inclination correction increases the information content of the synthetic images considerably and reduces systematic errors, in particular for larger solar zenith angles. Taking subgrid cloud overlap into account is essential to avoid large systematic errors. The results obtained using several different 2D cloud overlap schemes are very similar, whereas small but significant differences are found for the most consistent 3D method, which accounts for the fact that the RT problem is solved for columns tilted toward the satellite.

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Josef Schröttle, Martin Weissmann, Leonhard Scheck, and Axel Hutt

Abstract

Cloud-affected radiances from geostationary satellite sensors provide the first area-wide observable signal of convection with high spatial resolution in the range of kilometers and high temporal resolution in the range of minutes. However, these observations are not yet assimilated in operational convection-resolving weather prediction models as the rapid, nonlinear evolution of clouds makes the assimilation of related observations very challenging. To address these challenges, we investigate the assimilation of satellite radiances from visible and infrared channels in idealized observing system simulation experiments (OSSEs) for a day with summertime deep convection in central Europe. This constitutes the first study assimilating a combination of all-sky observations from infrared and visible satellite channels, and the experiments provide the opportunity to test various assimilation settings in an environment where the observation forward operator and the numerical model exhibit no systematic errors. The experiments provide insights into appropriate settings for the assimilation of cloud-affected satellite radiances in an ensemble data assimilation system and demonstrate the potential of these observations for convective-scale weather prediction. Both infrared and visible radiances individually lead to an overall forecast improvement, but best results are achieved with a combination of both observation types that provide complementary information on atmospheric clouds. This combination strongly improves the forecast of precipitation and other quantities throughout the whole range of 8-h lead time.

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Mirjana Sakradzija, Fabian Senf, Leonhard Scheck, Maike Ahlgrimm, and Daniel Klocke

Abstract

The local impact of stochastic shallow convection on clouds and precipitation is tested in a case study over the tropical Atlantic on 20 December 2013 using the Icosahedral Nonhydrostatic Model (ICON). ICON is used at a grid resolution of 2.5 km and is tested in several configurations that differ in their treatment of shallow convection. A stochastic shallow convection scheme is compared to the operational deterministic scheme and a case with no representation of shallow convection. The model is evaluated by comparing synthetically generated irradiance data for both visible and infrared wavelengths against actual satellite observations. The experimental approach is designed to distinguish the local effects of parameterized shallow convection (or lack thereof) within the trades versus the ITCZ. The stochastic cases prove to be superior in reproducing low-level cloud cover, deep convection, and its organization, as well as the distribution of precipitation in the tropical Atlantic ITCZ. In these cases, convective heating in the subcloud layer is substantial, and boundary layer depth is increased as a result of the heating, while evaporation is enhanced at the expense of sensible heat flux at the ocean’s surface. The stochastic case where subgrid shallow convection is deactivated below the resolved deep updrafts indicates that local boundary layer convection is crucial for a better representation of deep convection. Based on these results, our study points to a necessity to further develop parameterizations of shallow convection for use at the convection-permitting resolutions and to assuredly include them in weather and climate models even as their imperfect versions.

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