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Thomas M. Hamill, Jeffrey S. Whitaker, Daryl T. Kleist, Michael Fiorino, and Stanley G. Benjamin

Abstract

Experimental ensemble predictions of tropical cyclone (TC) tracks from the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) using the Global Forecast System (GFS) model were recently validated for the 2009 Northern Hemisphere hurricane season by Hamill et al. A similar suite of tests is described here for the 2010 season. Two major changes were made this season: 1) a reduction in the resolution of the GFS model, from 2009’s T384L64 (~31 km at 25°N) to 2010’s T254L64 (~47 km at 25°N), and some changes in model physics; and 2) the addition of a limited test of deterministic forecasts initialized from a hybrid three-dimensional variational data assimilation (3D-Var)/EnKF method.

The GFS/EnKF ensembles continued to produce reduced track errors relative to operational ensemble forecasts created by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), the Met Office (UKMO), and the Canadian Meteorological Centre (CMC). The GFS/EnKF was not uniformly as skillful as the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ensemble prediction system. GFS/EnKF track forecasts had slightly higher error than ECMWF at longer leads, especially in the western North Pacific, and exhibited poorer calibration between spread and error than in 2009, perhaps in part because of lower model resolution. Deterministic forecasts from the hybrid were competitive with deterministic EnKF ensemble-mean forecasts and superior in track error to those initialized from the operational variational algorithm, the Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation (GSI). Pending further successful testing, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) intends to implement the global hybrid system operationally for data assimilation.

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Thomas M. Hamill, Jeffrey S. Whitaker, Michael Fiorino, and Stanley G. Benjamin

Abstract

Verification was performed on ensemble forecasts of 2009 Northern Hemisphere summer tropical cyclones (TCs) from two experimental global numerical weather prediction ensemble prediction systems (EPSs). The first model was a high-resolution version (T382L64) of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Global Forecast System (GFS). The second model was a 30-km version of the experimental NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory’s Flow-following finite-volume Icosahedral Model (FIM). Both models were initialized with the first 20 members of a 60-member ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) using the T382L64 GFS. The GFS–EnKF assimilated the full observational data stream that was normally assimilated into the NCEP operational Global Statistical Interpolation (GSI) data assimilation, plus human-synthesized “observations” of tropical cyclone central pressure and position produced at the National Hurricane Center and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. The forecasts from the two experimental ensembles were compared against four operational EPSs from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), NCEP, the Canadian Meteorological Centre (CMC), and the Met Office (UKMO).

The errors of GFS–EnKF ensemble track forecasts were competitive with those from the ECMWF ensemble system, and the overall spread of the ensemble tracks was consistent in magnitude with the track error. Both experimental EPSs had much lower errors than the operational NCEP, UKMO, and CMC EPSs, but the FIM–EnKF tracks were somewhat less accurate than the GFS–EnKF. The ensemble forecasts were often stretched in particular directions, and not necessarily along or across track. The better-performing EPSs provided useful information on potential track error anisotropy. While the GFS–EnKF initialized relatively deep vortices by assimilating the TC central pressure estimate, the model storms filled during the subsequent 24 h. Other forecast models also systematically underestimated TC intensity (e.g., maximum forecast surface wind speed). The higher-resolution models generally had less bias.

Analyses were conducted to try to understand whether the additional central pressure observation, the EnKF, or the extra resolution was most responsible for the decrease in track error of the experimental Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS)–EnKF over the operational NCEP. The assimilation of the additional TC observations produced only a small change in deterministic track forecasts initialized with the GSI. The T382L64 GFS–EnKF ensemble was used to initialize a T126L28 ensemble forecast to facilitate a comparison with the operational NCEP system. The T126L28 GFS–EnKF EPS track forecasts were dramatically better than the NCEP operational, suggesting the positive impact of the EnKF, perhaps through improved steering flow.

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Steven T. Fiorino, Robb M. Randall, Michelle F. Via, and Jarred L. Burley

Abstract

This paper demonstrates the capability of the Laser Environmental Effects Definition and Reference (LEEDR) model to accurately characterize the meteorological parameters and radiative transfer effects of the atmospheric boundary layer with surface observations or climatological values of temperature, pressure, and humidity (“climatology”). The LEEDR model is a fast-calculating, first-principles, worldwide surface-to-100-km, ultraviolet-to-radio-frequency (UV to RF) wavelength, atmospheric characterization package. In general, LEEDR defines the well-mixed atmospheric boundary layer with a worldwide, probabilistic surface climatology that is based on season and time of day and, then, computes the radiative transfer and propagation effects from the vertical profile of meteorological variables. The LEEDR user can also directly input surface observations. This research compares the LEEDR vertical profiles created from input surface observations or numerical weather prediction (NWP) data with the LEEDR climatological profile for the same time of day and season. The different profiles are compared with truth radiosonde data, and the differences from truth are found to be smaller for profiles created from surface observations and NWP than for those made from climatological data for the same season and time. In addition, this research validates LEEDR’s elevated aerosol extinction profile vertical structure against observed lidar measurements and details the advantages of using NWP data for atmospheric profile development. The impacts of these differences are demonstrated with a potential tactical high-energy-laser engagement simulation.

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K. J. E. Walsh, M. Fiorino, C. W. Landsea, and K. L. McInnes

Abstract

Objectively derived resolution-dependent criteria are defined for the detection of tropical cyclones in model simulations and observationally based analyses. These criteria are derived from the wind profiles of observed tropical cyclones, averaged at various resolutions. Both an analytical wind profile model and two-dimensional observed wind analyses are used. The results show that the threshold wind speed of an observed tropical cyclone varies roughly linearly with resolution. The criteria derived here are compared to the numerous different criteria previously employed in climate model simulations. The resulting method provides a simple means of comparing climate model simulations and reanalyses.

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Masao Kanamitsu, Wesley Ebisuzaki, Jack Woollen, Shi-Keng Yang, J. J. Hnilo, M. Fiorino, and G. L. Potter

The NCEP–DOE Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project (AMIP-II) reanalysis is a follow-on project to the “50-year” (1948–present) NCEP–NCAR Reanalysis Project. NCEP–DOE AMIP-II re-analysis covers the “20-year” satellite period of 1979 to the present and uses an updated forecast model, updated data assimilation system, improved diagnostic outputs, and fixes for the known processing problems of the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis. Only minor differences are found in the primary analysis variables such as free atmospheric geopotential height and winds in the Northern Hemisphere extratropics, while significant improvements upon NCEP–NCAR reanalysis are made in land surface parameters and land–ocean fluxes. This analysis can be used as a supplement to the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis especially where the original analysis has problems. The differences between the two analyses also provide a measure of uncertainty in current analyses.

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Steven T. Fiorino, Robb M. Randall, Richard J. Bartell, Adam D. Downs, Peter C. Chu, and C. W. Fan

Abstract

This study quantifies the potential impacts on ship-defense high-energy-laser (HEL) performance due to atmospheric effects in the marine boundary layer driven by recent observations and analysis of worldwide sea surface temperatures (SSTs). The atmospheric effects are defined using the worldwide probabilistic climatic database available in the High Energy Laser End-to-End Operational Simulation (HELEEOS) model, which includes an SST database for the period 1854–1997. A more recent worldwide sea surface temperature database was provided by the Naval Postgraduate School for the period 1990–2008. Mean differences and trends between the two SST databases are used to deduce possible climate change impacts on simulated maritime HEL engagements. The anticipated effects on HEL propagation performance are assessed at an operating wavelength of 1.0642 μm across the world’s oceans and mapped onto a 1° × 1° grid. The scenario evaluated is near surface and nearly horizontal over a range of 5000 m in which anticipated clear-air maritime aerosols occur. Summer and winter scenarios are considered. In addition to realistic vertical profiles of molecular and aerosol absorption and scattering, correlated optical turbulence profiles in probabilistic (percentile) format are used.

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Thomas M. Hamill, Gary T. Bates, Jeffrey S. Whitaker, Donald R. Murray, Michael Fiorino, Thomas J. Galarneau Jr., Yuejian Zhu, and William Lapenta

A multidecadal ensemble reforecast database is now available that is approximately consistent with the operational 0000 UTC cycle of the 2012 NOAA Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS). The reforecast dataset consists of an 11-member ensemble run once each day from 0000 UTC initial conditions. Reforecasts are run to +16 days. As with the operational 2012 GEFS, the reforecast is run at T254L42 resolution (approximately 1/2° grid spacing, 42 levels) for week +1 forecasts and T190L42 (approximately 3/4° grid spacing) for the week +2 forecasts. Reforecasts were initialized with Climate Forecast System Reanalysis initial conditions, and perturbations were generated using the ensemble transform with rescaling technique. Reforecast data are available from 1985 to present.

Reforecast datasets were previously demonstrated to be very valuable for detecting and correcting systematic errors in forecasts, especially forecasts of relatively rare events and longer-lead forecasts. What is novel about this reforecast dataset relative to the first-generation NOAA reforecast is that (i) a modern, currently operational version of the forecast model is used (the previous reforecast used a model version from 1998); (ii) a much larger set of output data has been saved, including variables relevant for precipitation, hydrologic, wind energy, solar energy, severe weather, and tropical cyclone forecasting; and (iii) the archived data are at much higher resolution.

The article describes more about the reforecast configuration and provides a few examples of how this second-generation reforecast data may be used for research and a variety of weather forecast applications.

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Rainer Bleck, Jian-Wen Bao, Stanley G. Benjamin, John M. Brown, Michael Fiorino, Thomas B. Henderson, Jin-Luen Lee, Alexander E. MacDonald, Paul Madden, Jacques Middlecoff, James Rosinski, Tanya G. Smirnova, Shan Sun, and Ning Wang

Abstract

A hydrostatic global weather prediction model based on an icosahedral horizontal grid and a hybrid terrain-following/isentropic vertical coordinate is described. The model is an extension to three spatial dimensions of a previously developed, icosahedral, shallow-water model featuring user-selectable horizontal resolution and employing indirect addressing techniques. The vertical grid is adaptive to maximize the portion of the atmosphere mapped into the isentropic coordinate subdomain. The model, best described as a stacked shallow-water model, is being tested extensively on real-time medium-range forecasts to ready it for possible inclusion in operational multimodel ensembles for medium-range to seasonal prediction.

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W. Lawrence Gates, James S. Boyle, Curt Covey, Clyde G. Dease, Charles M. Doutriaux, Robert S. Drach, Michael Fiorino, Peter J. Gleckler, Justin J. Hnilo, Susan M. Marlais, Thomas J. Phillips, Gerald L. Potter, Benjamin D. Santer, Kenneth R. Sperber, Karl E. Taylor, and Dean N. Williams

The Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project (AMIP), initiated in 1989 under the auspices of the World Climate Research Programme, undertook the systematic validation, diagnosis, and intercomparison of the performance of atmospheric general circulation models. For this purpose all models were required to simulate the evolution of the climate during the decade 1979–88, subject to the observed monthly average temperature and sea ice and a common prescribed atmospheric CO2 concentration and solar constant. By 1995, 31 modeling groups, representing virtually the entire international atmospheric modeling community, had contributed the required standard output of the monthly means of selected statistics. These data have been analyzed by the participating modeling groups, by the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison, and by the more than two dozen AMIP diagnostic subprojects that have been established to examine specific aspects of the models' performance. Here the analysis and validation of the AMIP results as a whole are summarized in order to document the overall performance of atmospheric general circulation–climate models as of the early 1990s. The infrastructure and plans for continuation of the AMIP project are also reported on.

Although there are apparent model outliers in each simulated variable examined, validation of the AMIP models' ensemble mean shows that the average large-scale seasonal distributions of pressure, temperature, and circulation are reasonably close to what are believed to be the best observational estimates available. The large-scale structure of the ensemble mean precipitation and ocean surface heat flux also resemble the observed estimates but show particularly large intermodel differences in low latitudes. The total cloudiness, on the other hand, is rather poorly simulated, especially in the Southern Hemisphere. The models' simulation of the seasonal cycle (as represented by the amplitude and phase of the first annual harmonic of sea level pressure) closely resembles the observed variation in almost all regions. The ensemble's simulation of the interannual variability of sea level pressure in the tropical Pacific is reasonably close to that observed (except for its underestimate of the amplitude of major El Niños), while the interannual variability is less well simulated in midlatitudes. When analyzed in terms of the variability of the evolution of their combined space–time patterns in comparison to observations, the AMIP models are seen to exhibit a wide range of accuracy, with no single model performing best in all respects considered.

Analysis of the subset of the original AMIP models for which revised versions have subsequently been used to revisit the experiment shows a substantial reduction of the models' systematic errors in simulating cloudiness but only a slight reduction of the mean seasonal errors of most other variables. In order to understand better the nature of these errors and to accelerate the rate of model improvement, an expanded and continuing project (AMIP II) is being undertaken in which analysis and intercomparison will address a wider range of variables and processes, using an improved diagnostic and experimental infrastructure.

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S. Pawson, K. Kodera, K. Hamilton, T. G. Shepherd, S. R. Beagley, B. A. Boville, J. D. Farrara, T. D. A. Fairlie, A. Kitoh, W. A. Lahoz, U. Langematz, E. Manzini, D. H. Rind, A. A. Scaife, K. Shibata, P. Simon, R. Swinbank, L. Takacs, R. J. Wilson, J. A. Al-Saadi, M. Amodei, M. Chiba, L. Coy, J. de Grandpré, R. S. Eckman, M. Fiorino, W. L. Grose, H. Koide, J. N. Koshyk, D. Li, J. Lerner, J. D. Mahlman, N. A. McFarlane, C. R. Mechoso, A. Molod, A. O'Neill, R. B. Pierce, W. J. Randel, R. B. Rood, and F. Wu

To investigate the effects of the middle atmosphere on climate, the World Climate Research Programme is supporting the project “Stratospheric Processes and their Role in Climate” (SPARC). A central theme of SPARC, to examine model simulations of the coupled troposphere–middle atmosphere system, is being performed through the initiative called GRIPS (GCM-Reality Intercomparison Project for SPARC). In this paper, an overview of the objectives of GRIPS is given. Initial activities include an assessment of the performance of middle atmosphere climate models, and preliminary results from this evaluation are presented here. It is shown that although all 13 models evaluated represent most major features of the mean atmospheric state, there are deficiencies in the magnitude and location of the features, which cannot easily be traced to the formulation (resolution or the parameterizations included) of the models. Most models show a cold bias in all locations, apart from the tropical tropopause region where they can be either too warm or too cold. The strengths and locations of the major jets are often misrepresented in the models. Looking at three-dimensional fields reveals, for some models, more severe deficiencies in the magnitude and positioning of the dominant structures (such as the Aleutian high in the stratosphere), although undersampling might explain some of these differences from observations. All the models have shortcomings in their simulations of the present-day climate, which might limit the accuracy of predictions of the climate response to ozone change and other anomalous forcing.

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