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Perry C. Shafran, Nelson L. Seaman, and George A. Gayno


The performance of two types of turbulence closures is compared in a 3D numerical investigation of an episode with poor air quality. The first is the Blackadar boundary layer scheme, which has a nonlocal closure for unstable conditions. The second is a 1.5-order scheme, known as Gayno–Seaman (GS), that predicts turbulent kinetic energy and is suitable for simulating foggy as well as dry conditions. In 3D mesoscale simulations of a 5-day air pollution episode over the Midwest, the GS turbulence scheme is found to be effective for reducing model errors in boundary layer depth and surface wind speeds, relative to the Blackadar nonlocal closure. In this case, wind direction and surface temperature simulations have comparable skill with both closures. The 1.5-order GS scheme also is shown to interact well with a four-dimensional data assimilation system that avoids assimilation of smooth analyses below 1500 m. Experiments that combined the 1.5-order boundary layer scheme and a multiscale data assimilation approach produced the lowest model errors overall while producing boundary layer trajectories that are consistent with the observed locations of ozone maxima. The efficiency of the two turbulence schemes was found to be nearly identical, each requiring about 25% of the overall central processing unit computation time.

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Paul A. Hirschberg, Perry C. Shafran, Russell L. Elsberry, and Elizabeth A. Ritchie


Analyses and forecasts from a modern data assimilation and modeling system are used to evaluate the impact of a special rawinsonde dataset of 3-h soundings at seven sites interspersed with the seven regular sites along the West Coast (to form a so-called picket fence to intercept all transiting circulations) plus special 6-h rawinsondes over the National Weather Service Western Region. Whereas four intensive observing periods (IOPs) are available, only two representative IOPs (IOP-3 and IOP-4) are described here. The special observations collected during each 12-h cycle are analyzed with the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Eta Data Assimilation System in a cold start from the NCEP–National Center for Atmospheric Research reanalyses as the initial condition. Forecasts up to 48 h with and without the special picket fence observations are generated by the 32-km horizontal resolution Eta Model with 45 vertical levels.

The picket fence observations had little impact in some cases with smooth environmental flow. In other cases, relatively large initial increments were introduced offshore of the picket fence observations. However, these increments usually damped as they translated downstream. During IOP-3, the increments amplified east of the Rocky Mountains after only 24 h. Even though initially small, the increments in IOP-4 grew rapidly to 500-mb height increments ∼20–25 m with accompanying meridional wind increments of 5–8 m s−1 that contributed to maxima in shear vorticity. Many of the downstream amplifying circulations had associated precipitation increments ∼6 mm (6 h)−1 between the control and experimental forecasts. The equitable threat scores against the cooperative station set for the first 24-h forecasts during IOP-3 had higher values at the 0.50- and 0.75-in-thresholds for the picket fence dataset. However, the overall four-IOP equitable threat scores were similar.

Although the classical synoptic case was not achieved during the picket fence, these model forecasts suggest that such observations around the coast of the United States would impact the downstream forecasts when added in dynamically unstable regions. An ultimate picket fence of continuous remotely observing systems should be studied further.

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Fedor Mesinger, Geoff DiMego, Eugenia Kalnay, Kenneth Mitchell, Perry C. Shafran, Wesley Ebisuzaki, Dušan Jović, Jack Woollen, Eric Rogers, Ernesto H. Berbery, Michael B. Ek, Yun Fan, Robert Grumbine, Wayne Higgins, Hong Li, Ying Lin, Geoff Manikin, David Parrish, and Wei Shi

In 1997, during the late stages of production of NCEP–NCAR Global Reanalysis (GR), exploration of a regional reanalysis project was suggested by the GR project's Advisory Committee, “particularly if the RDAS [Regional Data Assimilation System] is significantly better than the global reanalysis at capturing the regional hydrological cycle, the diurnal cycle and other important features of weather and climate variability.” Following a 6-yr development and production effort, NCEP's North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) project was completed in 2004, and data are now available to the scientific community. Along with the use of the NCEP Eta model and its Data Assimilation System (at 32-km–45-layer resolution with 3-hourly output), the hallmarks of the NARR are the incorporation of hourly assimilation of precipitation, which leverages a comprehensive precipitation analysis effort, the use of a recent version of the Noah land surface model, and the use of numerous other datasets that are additional or improved compared to the GR. Following the practice applied to NCEP's GR, the 25-yr NARR retrospective production period (1979–2003) is augmented by the construction and daily execution of a system for near-real-time continuation of the NARR, known as the Regional Climate Data Assimilation System (R-CDAS). Highlights of the NARR results are presented: precipitation over the continental United States (CONUS), which is seen to be very near the ingested analyzed precipitation; fits of tropospheric temperatures and winds to rawinsonde observations; and fits of 2-m temperatures and 10-m winds to surface station observations. The aforementioned fits are compared to those of the NCEP–Department of Energy (DOE) Global Reanalysis (GR2). Not only have the expectations cited above been fully met, but very substantial improvements in the accuracy of temperatures and winds compared to that of GR2 are achieved throughout the troposphere. Finally, the numerous datasets produced are outlined and information is provided on the data archiving and present data availability.

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