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Tomasz J. Glowacki, Yi Xiao, and Peter Steinle

Abstract

An operational surface analysis system for the continent of Australia is presented. The system is specifically designed to mitigate problems that arise when analyzing surface data with a highly inhomogeneous distribution. Hourly analyses of atmospheric pressure at mean sea level, potential temperature, 2-m dewpoint temperature, and 10-m wind components are generated on a ~4-km grid. The system employs a statistical interpolation technique using observations of pressure, temperature, dewpoint, and wind data. The problem of data gaps in space and time is addressed by introducing pseudo-observations. For stations missing a report at analysis time, estimates are reconstructed by interpolating off-time reports. Underobserved areas in the network are identified from precalculated, gridded observation densities for each analysis time, which also yield weights to combine preliminary analysis and first-guess data into pseudo-observations. A regression-based pressure reduction technique, consistent with local reductions at observing sites and devised specifically for this system, is used for accurate and fast conversion of pressure and, indirectly, temperature variables within the system. Analysis accuracy is verified by withholding observations for specific periods. Analyzed fields are shown to be significantly more accurate than the current operational numerical model fields used as a first guess for the high-resolution surface analysis. The system design and analysis accuracies are also assessed within this context and compared with similar overseas developments.

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Justin R. Peter, Alan Seed, and Peter J. Steinle

Abstract

A naïve Bayes classifier (NBC) was developed to distinguish precipitation echoes from anomalous propagation (anaprop). The NBC is an application of Bayes's theorem, which makes its classification decision based on the class with the maximum a posteriori probability. Several feature fields were input to the Bayes classifier: texture of reflectivity (TDBZ), a measure of the reflectivity fluctuations (SPIN), and vertical profile of reflectivity (VPDBZ). Prior conditional probability distribution functions (PDFs) of the feature fields were constructed from training sets for several meteorological scenarios and for anaprop. A Box–Cox transform was applied to transform these PDFs to approximate Gaussian distributions, which enabled efficient numerical computation as they could be specified completely by their mean and standard deviation. Combinations of the feature fields were tested on the training datasets to evaluate the best combination for discriminating anaprop and precipitation, which was found to be TDBZ and VPDBZ. The NBC was applied to a case of convective rain embedded in anaprop and found to be effective at distinguishing the echoes. Furthermore, despite having been trained with data from a single radar, the NBC was successful at distinguishing precipitation and anaprop from two nearby radars with differing wavelength and beamwidth characteristics. The NBC was extended to implement a strength of classification index that provides a metric to quantify the confidence with which data have been classified as precipitation and, consequently, a method to censor data for assimilation or quantitative precipitation estimation.

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Susan Rennie, Peter Steinle, Alan Seed, Mark Curtis, and Yi Xiao

Abstract

A new quality control system, primarily using a naïve Bayesian classifier, has been developed to enable the assimilation of radial velocity observations from Doppler radar. The ultimate assessment of this system is the assimilation of observations in a pseudo-operational numerical weather prediction system during the Sydney 2014 Forecast Demonstration Project. A statistical analysis of the observations assimilated during this period provides an assessment of the data quality. This will influence how observations will be assimilated in the future, and what quality control and errors are applicable. This study compares observation-minus-background statistics for radial velocities from precipitation and insect echoes. The results show that with the applied level of quality control, these echo types have comparable biases. With the latest quality control, the clear air observations of wind are apparently of similar quality to those from precipitation and are therefore suitable for use in high-resolution NWP assimilation systems.

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Susan Rennie, Lawrence Rikus, Nathan Eizenberg, Peter Steinle, and Monika Krysta

Abstract

The impact of Doppler radar wind observations on forecasts from a developmental, high-resolution numerical weather prediction (NWP) system is assessed. The new 1.5-km limited-area model will be Australia’s first such operational NWP system to include data assimilation. During development, the assimilation of radar wind observations was trialed over a 2-month period to approve the initial inclusion of these observations. Three trials were run: the first with no radar data, the second with radial wind observations from precipitation echoes, and the third with radial winds from both precipitation and insect echoes. The forecasts were verified against surface observations from automatic weather stations, against rainfall accumulations using fractions skill scores, and against satellite cloud observations. These methods encompassed verification across a range of vertical levels. Additionally, a case study was examined more closely. Overall results showed little statistical difference in skill between the trials, and the net impact was neutral. While the new observations clearly affected the forecast, the objective and subjective analyses showed a neutral impact on the forecast overall. As a first step, this result is satisfactory for the operational implementation. In future, upgrades to the radar network will start to reduce the observation error, and further improvements to the data assimilation are planned, which may be expected to improve the impact.

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S. J. Rennie, M. Curtis, J. Peter, A. W. Seed, P. J. Steinle, and G. Wen

Abstract

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s operational weather radar network comprises a heterogeneous radar collection covering diverse geography and climate. A naïve Bayes classifier has been developed to identify a range of common echo types observed with these radars. The success of the classifier has been evaluated against its training dataset and by routine monitoring. The training data indicate that more than 90% of precipitation may be identified correctly. The echo types most difficult to distinguish from rainfall are smoke, chaff, and anomalous propagation ground and sea clutter. Their impact depends on their climatological frequency. Small quantities of frequently misclassified persistent echo (like permanent ground clutter or insects) can also cause quality control issues. The Bayes classifier is demonstrated to perform better than a simple threshold method, particularly for reducing misclassification of clutter as precipitation. However, the result depends on finding a balance between excluding precipitation and including erroneous echo. Unlike many single-polarization classifiers that are only intended to extract precipitation echo, the Bayes classifier also discriminates types of nonprecipitation echo. Therefore, the classifier provides the means to utilize clear air echo for applications like data assimilation, and the class information will permit separate data handling of different echo types.

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Craig H. Bishop, Daniel Hodyss, Peter Steinle, Holly Sims, Adam M. Clayton, Andrew C. Lorenc, Dale M. Barker, and Mark Buehner

Abstract

Previous descriptions of how localized ensemble covariances can be incorporated into variational (VAR) data assimilation (DA) schemes provide few clues as to how this might be done in an efficient way. This article serves to remedy this hiatus in the literature by deriving a computationally efficient algorithm for using nonadaptively localized four-dimensional (4D) or three-dimensional (3D) ensemble covariances in variational DA. The algorithm provides computational advantages whenever (i) the localization function is a separable product of a function of the horizontal coordinate and a function of the vertical coordinate, (ii) and/or the localization length scale is much larger than the model grid spacing, (iii) and/or there are many variable types associated with each grid point, (iv) and/or 4D ensemble covariances are employed.

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Sharanya J. Majumdar, Juanzhen Sun, Brian Golding, Paul Joe, Jimy Dudhia, Olivier Caumont, Krushna Chandra Gouda, Peter Steinle, Béatrice Vincendon, Jianjie Wang, and Nusrat Yussouf

Abstract

Improving the forecasting and communication of weather hazards such as urban floods and extreme winds has been recognized by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) as a priority for international weather research. The WMO has established a 10-yr High-Impact Weather Project (HIWeather) to address global challenges and accelerate progress on scientific and social solutions. In this review, key challenges in hazard forecasting are first illustrated and summarized via four examples of high-impact weather events. Following this, a synthesis of the requirements, current status, and future research in observations, multiscale data assimilation, multiscale ensemble forecasting, and multiscale coupled hazard modeling is provided.

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Noel E. Davidson, Yi Xiao, Yimin Ma, Harry C. Weber, Xudong Sun, Lawrie J. Rikus, Jeff D. Kepert, Peter X. Steinle, Gary S. Dietachmayer, Charlie C. F. Lok, James Fraser, Joan Fernon, and Hakeem Shaik

Abstract

The Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator (ACCESS) has been adapted for operational and research applications on tropical cyclones. The base system runs at a resolution of 0.11° and 50 levels. The domain is relocatable and nested in coarser-resolution ACCESS forecasts. Initialization consists of five cycles of four-dimensional variational data assimilation (4DVAR) over 24 h. Forecasts to 72 h are made. Without vortex specification, initial conditions usually contain a weak and misplaced circulation pattern. Significant effort has been devoted to building physically based, synthetic inner-core structures, validated using historical dropsonde data and surface analyses from the Atlantic. Based on estimates of central pressure and storm size, vortex specification is used to filter the analyzed circulation from the original analysis, construct an inner core of the storm, locate it to the observed position, and merge it with the large-scale analysis at outer radii.

Using all available conventional observations and only synthetic surface pressure observations from the idealized vortex to correct the initial location and structure of the storm, the 4DVAR builds a balanced, intense 3D vortex with maximum wind at the radius of maximum wind and with a well-developed secondary circulation. Mean track and intensity errors for Australian region and northwest Pacific storms have been encouraging, as are recent real-time results from the Australian National Meteorological and Oceanographic Centre. The system became fully operational in November 2011. From preliminary diagnostics, some interesting structure change features are illustrated. Current limitations, future enhancements, and research applications are also discussed.

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Florence Rabier, Aurélie Bouchard, Eric Brun, Alexis Doerenbecher, Stéphanie Guedj, Vincent Guidard, Fatima Karbou, Vincent-Henri Peuch, Laaziz El Amraoui, Dominique Puech, Christophe Genthon, Ghislain Picard, Michael Town, Albert Hertzog, François Vial, Philippe Cocquerez, Stephen A. Cohn, Terry Hock, Jack Fox, Hal Cole, David Parsons, Jordan Powers, Keith Romberg, Joseph VanAndel, Terry Deshler, Jennifer Mercer, Jennifer S. Haase, Linnea Avallone, Lars Kalnajs, C. Roberto Mechoso, Andrew Tangborn, Andrea Pellegrini, Yves Frenot, Jean-Noël Thépaut, Anthony McNally, Gianpaolo Balsamo, and Peter Steinle

The Concordiasi project is making innovative observations of the atmosphere above Antarctica. The most important goals of the Concordiasi are as follows:

  • To enhance the accuracy of weather prediction and climate records in Antarctica through the assimilation of in situ and satellite data, with an emphasis on data provided by hyperspectral infrared sounders. The focus is on clouds, precipitation, and the mass budget of the ice sheets. The improvements in dynamical model analyses and forecasts will be used in chemical-transport models that describe the links between the polar vortex dynamics and ozone depletion, and to advance the under understanding of the Earth system by examining the interactions between Antarctica and lower latitudes.

  • To improve our understanding of microphysical and dynamical processes controlling the polar ozone, by providing the first quasi-Lagrangian observations of stratospheric ozone and particles, in addition to an improved characterization of the 3D polar vortex dynamics. Techniques for assimilating these Lagrangian observations are being developed.

A major Concordiasi component is a field experiment during the austral springs of 2008–10. The field activities in 2010 are based on a constellation of up to 18 long-duration stratospheric super-pressure balloons (SPBs) deployed from the McMurdo station. Six of these balloons will carry GPS receivers and in situ instruments measuring temperature, pressure, ozone, and particles. Twelve of the balloons will release dropsondes on demand for measuring atmospheric parameters. Lastly, radiosounding measurements are collected at various sites, including the Concordia station.

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