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Martin Charron and Gilbert Brunet

Abstract

The theory of empirical normal modes (ENMs) is adapted to diagnose gravity waves generated by a relatively high-resolution numerical model solving the primitive equations. The ENM approach is based on the principal component analysis (which consists of finding the most efficient basis explaining the variance of a time series), except that it takes advantage of wave-activity conservation laws. In the present work, the small-amplitude version of the pseudoenergy is used to extract from data quasi-monochromatic three-dimensional empirical modes that describe atmospheric wave activity. The spatial distributions of these quasi-monochromatic modes are identical to the normal modes of the linearized primitive equations when the underlying dynamics can be described with a stochastic linear and forced model, thus establishing a bridge between statistics and dynamics. This diagnostic method is used to study inertia–gravity wave generation, propagation, transience, and breaking over the Rockies, the North Pacific, and Central America in the troposphere–stratosphere–mesosphere Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory SKYHI general circulation model at a resolution of 1° of latitude by 1.2° of longitude. Besides the action of mountains in exciting orographic waves, inertia–gravity wave activity has been found to be generated at the jet stream level as a possible consequence of a sustained nonlinear and ageostrophic flow. In the tropical region of the model (Central America), the inertia–gravity wave source mechanism produced mainly waves with a westward vertical tilt. A significant proportion of these inertia–gravity waves was able to reach the model mesosphere without much dissipation and absorption.

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Martin Charron and Elisa Manzini

Abstract

Current parameterizations of the gravity wave processes that are relevant to middle atmosphere general circulation modeling need to have specified somewhere in the lower atmosphere a number of characteristics of the gravity wave spectrum that arise from different possible gravity wave sources (i.e., the so-called gravity wave source spectrum). The aim of this study is to take into account in the specification of the gravity wave source spectrum a space and time modulation of the gravity wave wind variance and propagation direction associated with the occurrence of frontal systems. Given that fronts are poorly resolved at the truncations commonly used in middle atmosphere models (typically T21–T42), first a method is devised to diagnose conditions that are considered to be the precursor of frontogenesis in a space and time-dependent low-resolution flow. This is achieved by evaluating horizontal isotherm compression due to flow deformation and convergence. Second, when particular conditions are satisfied, the precursor to frontogenesis is used as an indicator of subgrid-scale gravity wave emission in the model. Third, the wind variance and the propagation direction of the gravity waves at the source level are specified according to empirical evidences of frontal generation of gravity waves. The MAECHAM4 middle atmosphere response to this gravity wave forcing is presented. The study is restricted to fronts since they are thought to be one of the major nonstationary gravity wave sources in the extratropics, other gravity wave source mechanisms being left for later examination.

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Martin Charron, P. L. Houtekamer, and Peter Bartello

Abstract

The ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) developed at the Meteorological Research Branch of Canada is used in the context of synthetic radial wind data assimilation at the mesoscale. A dry Boussinesq model with periodic boundary conditions is employed to provide a control run, as well as two ensembles of first guesses. Synthetic data, which are interpolated from the control run, are assimilated and simulate Doppler radar wind measurements.

Nine “radars” with a range of 120 km are placed evenly on the horizontal 1000 km × 1000 km domain. These radars measure the radial wind with assumed Gaussian error statistics at each grid point within their range provided that there is sufficient upward motion (a proxy for precipitation). These data of radial winds are assimilated every 30 min and the assimilation period extends over 4 days.

Results show that the EnKF technique with 2 × 50 members performed well in terms of reducing the analysis error for horizontal winds and temperature (even though temperature is not an observed variable) over a period of 4 days. However the analyzed vertical velocity shows an initial degradation. During the first 2 days of the assimilation period, the analysis error of the vertical velocity is greater when assimilating radar observations than when scoring forecasts initialized at t = 0 without assimilating any data. The type of assimilated data as well as the localization of the impact of the observations is thought to be the cause of this degradation of the analyzed vertical velocity. External gravity modes are present in the increments when localization is performed. This degradation can be eliminated by filtering the external gravity modes of the analysis increments.

A similar set of experiments is realized in which the model dissipation coefficient is reduced by a factor of 10. This shows the level of sensitivity of the results to the kinetic energy power spectrum, and that the quality of the analyzed vertical wind is worse when dissipation is small.

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Abdelaziz Beljadid, Abdolmajid Mohammadian, Martin Charron, and Claude Girard

Abstract

In this paper, theoretical and numerical analyses of the properties of some complex semi-Lagrangian methods are performed to deal with the issues of the instability associated with the treatment of the nonlinear part of the forcing term. A class of semi-Lagrangian semi-implicit schemes is proposed using a modified TR-BDF2 method, which is the combination of the trapezoidal rule (TR) and the second-order backward differentiation formula (BDF2). The process used for the nonlinear term includes two stages as predictor and corrector in the trapezoidal method and one stage for the BDF2 method. For the treatment of the linear term, the implicit trapezoidal method is employed in the first step, the explicit trapezoidal method in the second step, and the implicit BDF2 method in the third step. The combination of these techniques leads to a family of schemes that has a large region of absolute stability, performs well for the purely oscillatory cases, and has good qualities in terms of accuracy and convergence. The use of the explicit method for the linear term in the second step makes the proposed class of schemes competitive in terms of efficiency compared to some well-known schemes that use two steps. Numerical experiments presented herein confirm that the proposed class of schemes performs well in terms of stability, accuracy, convergence, and efficiency in comparison with other, previously known, semi-Lagrangian semi-implicit schemes and semi-implicit predictor–corrector methods. The potential practical application of the proposed class of schemes to a weather prediction model or any other atmospheric model is not discussed and could be the subject of other forthcoming studies.

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Xiaoli Li, Martin Charron, Lubos Spacek, and Guillem Candille

Abstract

A regional ensemble prediction system (REPS) with the limited-area version of the Canadian Global Environmental Multiscale (GEM) model at 15-km horizontal resolution is developed and tested. The total energy norm singular vectors (SVs) targeted over northeastern North America are used for initial and boundary perturbations. Two SV perturbation strategies are tested: dry SVs with dry simplified physics and moist SVs with simplified physics, including stratiform condensation and convective precipitation as well as dry processes. Model physics uncertainties are partly accounted for by stochastically perturbing two parameters: the threshold vertical velocity in the trigger function of the Kain–Fritsch deep convection scheme, and the threshold humidity in the Sundqvist explicit scheme. The perturbations are obtained from first-order Markov processes. Short-range ensemble forecasts in summer with 16 members are performed for five different experiments. The experiments employ different perturbation and piloting strategies, and two different surface schemes. Verification focuses on quantitative precipitation forecasts and is done using a range of probabilistic measures. Results indicate that using moist SVs instead of dry SVs has a stronger impact on precipitation than on dynamical fields. Forecast skill for precipitation is greatly influenced by the dominant synoptic weather systems. For stratiform precipitation caused by strong baroclinic systems, the forecast skill is improved in the moist SV experiments relative to the dry SV experiments. For convective precipitation rates in the range 15–50 mm (24 h)−1 produced by weak synoptic baroclinic systems, all experiments exhibit noticeably poorer forecast skills. Skill improvements due to the Interactions between Soil, Biosphere, and Atmosphere (ISBA) surface scheme and stochastic perturbations are also observed.

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P. L. Houtekamer, Herschel L. Mitchell, Gérard Pellerin, Mark Buehner, Martin Charron, Lubos Spacek, and Bjarne Hansen

Abstract

An ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) has been implemented for atmospheric data assimilation. It assimilates observations from a fairly complete observational network with a forecast model that includes a standard operational set of physical parameterizations. To obtain reasonable results with a limited number of ensemble members, severe horizontal and vertical covariance localizations have been used.

It is observed that the error growth in the data assimilation cycle is mainly due to model error. An isotropic parameterization, similar to the forecast-error parameterization in variational algorithms, is used to represent model error. After some adjustment, it is possible to obtain innovation statistics that agree with the ensemble-based estimate of the innovation amplitudes for winds and temperature. Currently, no model error is added for the humidity variable, and, consequently, the ensemble spread for humidity is too small. After about 5 days of cycling, fairly stable global filter statistics are obtained with no sign of filter divergence.

The quality of the ensemble mean background field, as verified using radiosonde observations, is similar to that obtained using a 3D variational procedure. In part, this is likely due to the form chosen for the parameterized model error. Nevertheless, the degree of similarity is surprising given that the background-error statistics used by the two procedures are rather different, with generally larger background errors being used by the variational scheme.

A set of 5-day integrations has been started from the ensemble of initial conditions provided by the EnKF. For the middle and lower troposphere, the growth rates of the perturbations are somewhat smaller than the growth rate of the actual ensemble mean error. For the upper levels, the perturbation patterns decay for about 3 days as a consequence of diffusive model dynamics. These decaying perturbations tend to severely underestimate the actual error that grows rapidly near the model top.

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Christophe Lavaysse, Marco Carrera, Stéphane Bélair, Normand Gagnon, Ronald Frenette, Martin Charron, and M. K. Yau

Abstract

The aim of this study is to assess the impact of uncertainties in surface parameter and initial conditions on numerical prediction with the Canadian Regional Ensemble Prediction System (REPS). As part of this study, the Canadian version of the Interactions between Soil–Biosphere–Atmosphere (ISBA) land surface scheme has been coupled to Environment Canada’s numerical weather prediction model within the REPS. For 20 summer periods in 2009, stochastic perturbations of surface parameters have been generated in several experiments. Each experiment corresponds to 20 simulations differing by the perturbations at the initial time of one or several surface parameters or prognostic variables. The sensitivity to these perturbations is quantified especially for 2-m temperature, 10-m wind speed, cloud fraction, and precipitation up to 48-h lead time. Spatial variability of these sensitivities over the North American continent shows that soil moisture, albedo, leaf area index, and SST have the largest impacts on the screen-level variables. The temporal evolution of these sensitivities appears to be closely linked to the diurnal cycle of the boundary layer. The surface perturbations are shown to increase the ensemble spread of the REPS for all screen-level variables especially for 2-m temperature and 10-m wind speed during daytime. A preliminary study of the impact on the ensemble forecast has shown that the inclusion of the surface perturbations tends to significantly increase the 2-m temperature and 10-m wind speed skill.

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Hai Lin, Normand Gagnon, Stephane Beauregard, Ryan Muncaster, Marko Markovic, Bertrand Denis, and Martin Charron

Abstract

Dynamical monthly prediction at the Canadian Meteorological Centre (CMC) was produced as part of the seasonal forecasting system over the past two decades. A new monthly forecasting system, which has been in operation since July 2015, is set up based on the operational Global Ensemble Prediction System (GEPS). This monthly forecasting system is composed of two components: 1) the real-time forecast, where the GEPS is extended to 32 days every Thursday; and 2) a 4-member hindcast over the past 20 years, which is used to obtain the model climatology to calibrate the monthly forecast. Compared to the seasonal prediction system, the GEPS-based monthly forecasting system takes advantage of the increased model resolution and improved initialization.

Forecasts of the past 2-yr period (2014 and 2015) are verified. Analysis is performed separately for the winter half-year (November–April), and the summer half-year (May–October). Weekly averages of 2-m air temperature (T2m) and 500-hPa geopotential height (Z500) are assessed. For Z500 in the Northern Hemisphere, limited skill can be found beyond week 2 (days 12–18) in summer, while in winter some skill exists over the Pacific and North American region beyond week 2. For T2m in North America, significant skill is found over a large part of the continent all the way to week 4 (days 26–32). The distribution of the wintertime T2m skill in North America is consistent with the influence of the Madden–Julian oscillation, indicating that a significant part of predictability likely comes from the tropics.

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Martin Charron, Gérard Pellerin, Lubos Spacek, P. L. Houtekamer, Normand Gagnon, Herschel L. Mitchell, and Laurent Michelin

Abstract

An updated global ensemble prediction system became operational at the Meteorological Service of Canada in July 2007. The new elements of the system include the use of 20 members instead of 16, a single dynamical core [the Global Environmental Multiscale (GEM) model], stochastic physical tendency perturbations and a kinetic energy backscatter algorithm, an ensemble Kalman filter with four-dimensional data handling, and a decrease from 1.2° to 0.9° in horizontal grid spacing. This system is compared with the former operational one using a variety of probabilistic measures. For global upper-air dynamical fields, the improvement in predictive skill for equivalent forecast quality is from 9 to 16 h around day 6. Precipitation forecasts, verified over Canada, are also significantly improved. The impact of each of the abovementioned new elements of the ensemble prediction system is also evaluated separately in a series of sensitivity experiments for which one given element is removed from the system.

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Martin Charron, Saroja Polavarapu, Mark Buehner, P. A. Vaillancourt, Cécilien Charette, Michel Roch, Josée Morneau, Louis Garand, Josep M. Aparicio, Stephen MacPherson, Simon Pellerin, Judy St-James, and Sylvain Heilliette

Abstract

A new system that resolves the stratosphere was implemented for operational medium-range weather forecasts at the Canadian Meteorological Centre. The model lid was raised from 10 to 0.1 hPa, parameterization schemes for nonorographic gravity wave tendencies and methane oxidation were introduced, and a new radiation scheme was implemented. Because of the higher lid height of 0.1 hPa, new measurements between 10 and 0.1 hPa were also added. This new high-top system resulted not only in dramatically improved forecasts of the stratosphere, but also in large improvements in medium-range tropospheric forecast skill. Pairs of assimilation experiments reveal that most of the stratospheric and tropospheric forecast improvement is obtained without the extra observations in the upper stratosphere. However, these observations further improve forecasts in the winter hemisphere but not in the summer hemisphere. Pairs of forecast experiments were run in which initial conditions were the same for each experiment but the forecast model differed. The large improvements in stratospheric forecast skill are found to be due to the higher lid height of the new model. The new radiation scheme helps to improve tropospheric forecasts. However, the degree of improvement seen in tropospheric forecast skill could not be entirely explained with these purely forecast experiments. It is hypothesized that the cycling of a better model and assimilation provide improved initial conditions, which result in improved forecasts.

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