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Simon T. K. Lang, Sarah C. Jones, Martin Leutbecher, Melinda S. Peng, and Carolyn A. Reynolds

Abstract

The sensitivity of singular vectors (SVs) associated with Hurricane Helene (2006) to resolution and diabatic processes is investigated. Furthermore, the dynamics of their growth are analyzed. The SVs are calculated using the tangent linear and adjoint model of the integrated forecasting system (IFS) of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts with a spatial resolution up to TL255 (~80 km) and 48-h optimization time. The TL255 moist (diabatic) SVs possess a three-dimensional spiral structure with significant horizontal and vertical upshear tilt within the tropical cyclone (TC). Also, their amplitude is larger than that of dry and lower-resolution SVs closer to the center of Helene. Both higher resolution and diabatic processes result in stronger growth being associated with the TC compared to other flow features. The growth of the SVs in the vicinity of Helene is associated with baroclinic and barotropic mechanisms. The combined effect of higher resolution and diabatic processes leads to significant differences of the SV structure and growth dynamics within the core and in the vicinity of the TC. If used to initialize ensemble forecasts with the IFS, the higher-resolution moist SVs cause larger spread of the wind speed, track, and intensity of Helene than their lower-resolution or dry counterparts. They affect the outflow of the TC more strongly, resulting in a larger downstream impact during recurvature. Increasing the resolution or including diabatic effects degrades the linearity of the SVs. While the impact of diabatic effects on the linearity is small at low resolution, it becomes large at high resolution.

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Marlene Baumgart, Michael Riemer, Volkmar Wirth, Franziska Teubler, and Simon T. K. Lang

Abstract

Synoptic-scale error growth near the tropopause is investigated from a process-based perspective. Following previous work, a potential vorticity (PV) error tendency equation is derived and partitioned into individual contributions to yield insight into the processes governing error growth near the tropopause. Importantly, we focus here on the further amplification of preexisting errors and not on the origin of errors. The individual contributions to error growth are quantified in a case study of a 6-day forecast. In this case, localized mesoscale error maxima have formed by forecast day 2. These maxima organize into a wavelike pattern and reach the Rossby wave scale around forecast day 6. Error growth occurs most prominently within the Atlantic and Pacific Rossby wave patterns. In our PV framework, the error growth is dominated by the contribution of upper-level, near-tropopause PV anomalies (near-tropopause dynamics). Significant contributions from upper-tropospheric divergent flow (prominently associated with latent heat release below) and lower-tropospheric anomalies [tropospheric-deep (i.e., baroclinic) interaction] are associated with a misrepresentation of the surface cyclone development in the forecast. These contributions are, in general, of smaller importance to error growth than near-tropopause dynamics. This result indicates that the mesoscale errors generated near the tropopause do not primarily project on differences in the subsequent baroclinic growth, but instead directly project on the tropopause evolution and amplify because of differences in the nonlinear Rossby wave dynamics.

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Linus Magnusson, Jean-Raymond Bidlot, Simon T. K. Lang, Alan Thorpe, Nils Wedi, and Munehiko Yamaguchi

Abstract

On 30 October 2012 Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the U.S. East Coast with a devastating impact. Here the performance of the ECMWF forecasts (both high resolution and ensemble) are evaluated together with ensemble forecasts from other numerical weather prediction centers, available from The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) Interactive Grand Global Ensemble (TIGGE) archive. The sensitivity to sea surface temperature (SST) and model resolution for the ECMWF forecasts are explored. The results show that the ECMWF forecasts provided a clear indication of the landfall from 7 days in advance. Comparing ensemble forecasts from different centers, the authors find the ensemble forecasts from ECMWF to be the most consistent in the forecast of the landfall of Sandy on the New Jersey coastline. The impact of the warm SST anomaly off the U.S. East Coast is investigated by running sensitivity experiments with climatological SST instead of persisting the SST anomaly from the analysis. The results show that the SST anomaly had a small effect on Sandy’s track in the forecast, but the forecasts initialized with the warm SST anomaly feature a more intense system in terms of the depth of the cyclone, wind speeds, and precipitation. Furthermore, the role of spatial resolution is investigated by comparing four global simulations, spanning from TL159 (150 km) to TL3999 (5 km) horizontal resolution. Forecasts from 3 and 5 days before the landfall are evaluated. While all resolutions predict Sandy’s landfall, at very high resolution the tropical cyclone intensity and the oceanic wave forecasts are greatly improved.

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Munehiko Yamaguchi, Frédéric Vitart, Simon T. K. Lang, Linus Magnusson, Russell L. Elsberry, Grant Elliott, Masayuki Kyouda, and Tetsuo Nakazawa

Abstract

Operational global medium-range ensemble forecasts of tropical cyclone (TC) activity (genesis plus the subsequent track) are systematically evaluated to understand the skill of the state-of-the-art ensembles in forecasting TC activity as well as the relative benefits of a multicenter grand ensemble with respect to a single-model ensemble. The global ECMWF, JMA, NCEP, and UKMO ensembles are evaluated from 2010 to 2013 in seven TC basins around the world. The verification metric is the Brier skill score (BSS), which is calculated within a 3-day time window over a forecast length of 2 weeks to examine the skill from short- to medium-range time scales (0–14 days). These operational global medium-range ensembles are capable of providing guidance on TC activity forecasts that extends into week 2. Multicenter grand ensembles (MCGEs) tend to have better forecast skill (larger BSSs) than does the best single-model ensemble, which is the ECMWF ensemble in most verification time windows and most TC basins. The relative benefit of the MCGEs is relatively large in the north Indian Ocean and TC basins in the Southern Hemisphere where the BSS of the single-model ensemble is relatively small. The BSS metric and the reliability are found to be sensitive to the choice of threshold wind values that are used to define the model TCs.

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