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Richard Legeckis and Tong Zhu

The introduction of the 10-bit, five-band, multispectral visible and thermal infrared scanner on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's GOES-8 satellite in 1994 offers an opportunity to estimate sea surface temperatures from a geostationary satellite. The advantage of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) over the traditional Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer is the 30-min interval between images, which can increase the daily quantity of cloud-free ocean observations. Linear regression coefficients are estimated for GOES-8 by using the sea surface temperatures derived from the NOAA-14 polar-orbiting satellite as the dependent variable and the GOES infrared split window channels and the satellite zenith angle as independent variables. The standard error between the polar and geostationary sea surface temperature is 0.35°C. Since the polar satellite sea surface temperature is estimated within 0.5°C relative to drifting buoy near-surface measurements, this implies that the GOES-8 infrared scanner can be used to estimate sea surface temperatures to better than 1.0°C relative to buoys. Daily composites of hourly GOES-8 sea surface temperatures are used to illustrate the capability of the GOES to produce improved cloud-free images of the ocean. Hourly time series reveal a 2°C diurnal surface temperature cycle in the eastern subtropical Pacific with a peak near 1200 LT. The rapid onset of coastal up welling along the southern coast of Mexico during December of 1996 was resolved at hourly intervals.

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Tong Zhu and Da-Lin Zhang

Abstract

In this study, the effects of various cloud microphysics processes on the hurricane intensity, precipitation, and inner-core structures are examined with a series of 5-day explicit simulations of Hurricane Bonnie (1998), using the results presented in Part I as a control run. It is found that varying cloud microphysics processes produces little sensitivity in hurricane track, except for very weak and shallow storms, but it produces pronounced departures in hurricane intensity and inner-core structures.

Specifically, removing ice microphysics produces the weakest (15-hPa underdeepening) and shallowest storm with widespread cloud water but little rainwater in the upper troposphere. Removing graupel from the control run generates a weaker hurricane with a wider area of precipitation and more cloud coverage in the eyewall due to the enhanced horizontal advection of hydrometeors relative to the vertical fallouts (or increased water loading). Turning off the evaporation of cloud water and rainwater leads to the most rapid deepening storm (i.e., 90 hPa in 48 h) with the smallest radius but a wider eyewall and the strongest eyewall updrafts. The second strongest storm, but with the most amount of rainfall, is obtained when the melting effect is ignored. It is found that the cooling due to melting is more pronounced in the eyewall where more frozen hydrometeors, especially graupel, are available, whereas the evaporative cooling occurs more markedly when the storm environment is more unsaturated.

It is shown that stronger storms tend to show more compact eyewalls with heavier precipitation and more symmetric structures in the warm-cored eye and in the eyewall. It is also shown that although the eyewall replacement scenarios occur as the simulated storms move into weak-sheared environments, the associated inner-core structural changes, timing, and location differ markedly, depending on the hurricane intensity. That is, the eyewall convection in weak storms tends to diminish shortly after being encircled by an outer rainband, whereas both the cloud band and the inner eyewall in strong storms tend to merge to form a new eyewall with a larger radius. The results indicate the importance of the Bergeron processes, including the growth and rapid fallout of graupel in the eyewall, and the latent heat of fusion in determining the intensity and inner-core structures of hurricanes, and the vulnerability of weak storms to the influence of large-scale sheared flows in terms of track, inner-core structures, and intensity changes.

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Fuzhong Weng, Tong Zhu, and Banghua Yan

Abstract

A hybrid variational scheme (HVAR) is developed to produce the vortex analysis associated with tropical storms. This scheme allows for direct assimilation of rain-affected radiances from satellite microwave instruments. In the HVAR, the atmospheric temperature and surface parameters in the storms are derived from a one-dimension variational data assimilation (1DVAR) scheme, which minimizes the cost function of both background information and satellite measurements. In the minimization process, a radiative transfer model including scattering and emission is used for radiance simulation (see Part I of this study). Through the use of 4DVAR, atmospheric temperatures from the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU) and surface parameters from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) are assimilated into global forecast model outputs to produce an improved analysis. This new scheme is generally applicable for variable stages of storms. In the 2005 hurricane season, the HVAR was applied for two hurricane cases, resulting in improved analyses of three-dimensional structures of temperature and wind fields as compared with operational model analysis fields. It is found that HVAR reproduces detailed structures for the hurricane warm core at the upper troposphere. Both lower-level wind speed and upper-level divergence are enhanced with reasonable asymmetric structure.

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Tong Zhu, Sid Ahmed Boukabara, and Kevin Garrett

Abstract

The impacts of both satellite data assimilation (DA) and lateral boundary conditions (LBCs) on the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) Model forecasts of Hurricane Sandy 2012 were assessed. To investigate the impact of satellite DA, experiments were run with and without satellite data assimilated, as well as with all satellite data but excluding Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) Sounder data. To gauge the LBC impact, these experiments were also run with a variety of outer domain (D-1) sizes. The inclusion of satellite DA resulted in analysis fields that better characterized the tropical storm structures including the warm core anomaly and wavenumber-1 asymmetry near the eyewall, and also served to reduce the forecast track errors for Hurricane Sandy. The specific impact of assimilating the GOES Sounder data showed positive impacts on forecasts of the storm minimum sea level pressure. Increasing the D-1 size resulted in increases in the day 4/5 forecast track errors when verified against the best track and the Global Forecast System (GFS) forecast, which dominated any benefits from assimilating an increased volume of satellite observations due to the larger domain. It was found that the LBCs with realistic environmental flow information could provide better constraints on smaller domain forecasts. This study demonstrated that satellite DA can improve the analysis of a hurricane asymmetry, especially in a shear environment, and then lead to a better track forecast, and also emphasized the importance of the LBCs and the challenges associated with the evaluation of satellite data impacts on regional model prediction.

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Tong Zhu, Da-Lin Zhang, and Fuzhong Weng

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Due to the lack of meteorological observations over the tropical oceans, almost all the current hurricane models require bogusing of a vortex into the large-scale analysis of the model initial state. In this study, an algorithm to construct hurricane vortices is developed using the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU-A) data. Under rain-free atmospheric conditions, the temperature profile could be retrieved with a root-mean-square error of 1.5°C. Under heavy rainfall conditions, measurements from channels 3–5 are removed in retrieving temperatures. An application of this algorithm to Hurricane Bonnie (1998) shows well the warm-core eye and strong thermal gradients across the eyewall.

The rotational and divergent winds are obtained by solving the nonlinear balance and omega equations using the large-scale analysis as the lateral boundary conditions. In doing so, the sea level pressure distribution is empirically specified, and the geopotential heights are calculated from the retrieved temperatures using the hydrostatic equation. The so-derived temperature and wind fields associated with Bonnie compare favorably to the dropsonde observations taken in the vicinity of the storm. The initial moisture field is specified based on the AMSU-derived total precipitable water.

The effectiveness of using the retrieved hurricane vortex as the model initial conditions is tested using three 48-h simulations of Bonnie with the finest grid size of the 4-km, triply nested version of the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model (MM5). It is found that the control run captures reasonably well the track and rapid deepening stage of the storm. The simulated radar reflectivity exhibits highly asymmetric structures of the eyewall and cloud bands, similar to the observed. A sensitivity simulation is conducted, in which an axisymmetric vortex is used in the model initial conditions. The simulated features are less favorable compared to the observations. Without the incorporation of the AMSU data, the simulated intensity and cloud structures differ markedly from the observed. The results suggest that this algorithm could provide an objective, observation-based way to incorporate a dynamically consistent vortex with reasonable asymmetries into the initial conditions of hurricane models. This algorithm could also be utilized to estimate three-dimensional hurricane flows after the hurricane warm core and eyewall are developed.

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Tong Zhu, Da-Lin Zhang, and Fuzhong Weng

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In this study, a 5-day explicit simulation of Hurricane Bonnie (1998) is performed using the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model (MM5) with the finest grid length of 4 km. The initial mass, wind, and moisture fields of the hurricane vortex are retrieved from the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-A (AMSU-A) satellite measurements, and the sea surface temperature (SST) is updated daily. It is shown that the simulated track is within 3° latitude–longitude of the best track at the end of the 5-day integration, but with the landfalling point close to the observed. The model also reproduces reasonably well the hurricane intensity and intensity changes, asymmetries in cloud and precipitation, as well as the vertical structures of dynamic and thermodynamic fields in the eye and eyewall.

It is shown that the storm deepens markedly in the first 2 days, during which period its environmental vertical shear increases substantially. It is found that this deepening could occur because of the dominant energy supply by a strong low-level southeasterly flow into the eastern eyewall plus the presence of underlying warm SST and favorable upper-level divergent outflow. However, the approaching of a strong upper-level northwesterly flow tends to generate mass convergence and subsidence warming and drying, thereby suppressing the development of deep convection in the western semicircle. This gives rise to wavenumber-1 asymmetries in clouds and precipitation (i.e., a partial eyewall) and the eastward tilt of the eyewall and storm center. Both the observed and simulated storms also appear to exhibit eyewall replacement scenarios in which the storms weaken as double eyewalls appear, and then reintensify as their inner eyewalls diminish and concentric eyewalls develop. The results indicate that the eyewall replacement process may be predictable because it appears to depend on the large-scale flow.

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Xin Huang, Yu Song, Chun Zhao, Xuhui Cai, Hongsheng Zhang, and Tong Zhu

Abstract

The direct radiative effect (DRE) of multiple aerosol species [sulfate, nitrate, ammonium, black carbon (BC), organic carbon (OC), and mineral aerosol] and their spatiotemporal variations over China were investigated using a fully coupled meteorology–chemistry model [Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model coupled with Chemistry (WRF-Chem)] for the entire year of 2006. This study made modifications to improve the model performance, including updating land surface parameters, improving the calculation of transition-metal-catalyzed oxidation of SO2, and adding heterogeneous reactions between mineral dust aerosol and acid gases. The modified model generally reproduced the magnitude, seasonal pattern, and spatial distribution of the measured meteorological conditions, concentrations of PM10 and its components, and aerosol optical depth (AOD), although some low biases existed in modeled aerosol concentrations. A diagnostic iteration method was used to estimate the overall DRE of aerosols and contributions from different components. At the land surface, the incident net radiation flux was reduced by 10.2 W m−2 over China. Aerosols significantly warmed the atmosphere with the national mean DRE of +10.8 W m−2. BC was the leading radiative heating component (+8.7 W m−2), followed by mineral aerosol (+1.1 W m−2). At the top of the atmosphere (TOA), BC introduced the largest radiative perturbation (+4.5 W m−2), followed by sulfate (−1.4 W m−2). The overall perturbation of aerosols on radiation transfer is quite small over China, demonstrating the counterbalancing effect between scattering and adsorbing aerosols. Aerosol DRE at the TOA had distinct seasonality, generally with a summer maximum and winter minimum, mainly determined by mass loadings, hygroscopic growth, and incident radiation flux.

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Zaizhong Ma, Eric S. Maddy, Banglin Zhang, Tong Zhu, and Sid Ahmed Boukabara

Abstract

As the first of the next-generation geostationary meteorological satellites, Himawari-8 was successfully launched in October 2014 by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and placed over the western Pacific Ocean domain at 140.7°E. It carries the Advanced Himawari Imager (AHI), which provides full-disk images of Earth at 16 bands in the visible and infrared domains every 10 min. Efforts are currently ongoing at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS)/Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR) to assimilate Himawari-8 AHI radiance measurements into the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation analysis system (GSI). All software development within the GSI to allow for assimilation of Himawari-8 AHI radiance has been completed.

This study reports on the assessment of AHI preassimilation data quality by comparing observed clear-sky ocean-only radiances to those simulated using collocated ECMWF analysis, as well as describing procedures implemented for quality control. The impact of the AHI data assimilation on the resulting analyses and forecasts is then assessed using the NCEP Global Forecast System (GFS). A preliminary assessment of the assimilation of AHI data from infrared water vapor channels and atmospheric motion vectors (AMVs) on top of the current global observing system shows neutral to marginal positive impact on analysis and forecast skill relative to an assimilation without AHI data. The main positive impact occurs for short- to medium-range forecasts of global upper-tropospheric water vapor. The results demonstrate the feasibility of direct assimilation of AHI radiances and highlight how humidity information can be extracted within the assimilation system.

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Mingjing Tong, Yanqiu Zhu, Linjiong Zhou, Emily Liu, Ming Chen, Quanhua Liu, and Shian-Jiann Lin

Abstract

Motivated by the use of the GFDL microphysics scheme in the Finite-Volume Cubed-Sphere Dynamical Core Global Forecast System (FV3GFS), the all-sky radiance assimilation framework has been expanded to include precipitating hydrometeors. Adding precipitating hydrometeors allows the assimilation of precipitation-affected radiance in addition to cloudy radiance. In this upgraded all-sky framework, the five hydrometeors, including cloud liquid water, cloud ice, rain, snow, and graupel, are the new control variables, replacing the original cloud water control variable. The Community Radiative Transfer Model (CRTM) was interfaced with the newly added precipitating hydrometeors. Subgrid cloud variability was considered by using the average cloud overlap scheme. Multiple scattering radiative transfer was activated in the upgraded framework. Radiance observations from the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-A (AMSU-A) and the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) over ocean were assimilated in all-sky approach. This new constructed all-sky framework shows neutral to positive impact on overall forecast skill. Improvement was found in 500-hPa geopotential height forecast in both Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Temperature forecast was also improved at 850 hPa in the Southern Hemisphere and the tropics.

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Vijay Tallapragada, Chanh Kieu, Samuel Trahan, Qingfu Liu, Weiguo Wang, Zhan Zhang, Mingjing Tong, Banglin Zhang, Lin Zhu, and Brian Strahl

Abstract

This study presents evaluation of real-time performance of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) operational Hurricane Weather Research and Forecast (HWRF) modeling system upgraded and implemented in 2013 in the western North Pacific basin (WPAC). Retrospective experiments with the 2013 version of the HWRF Model upgrades for 2012 WPAC tropical cyclones (TCs) show significant forecast improvement compared to the real-time forecasts from the 2012 version of HWRF. Despite a larger number of strong storms in the WPAC during 2013, real-time forecasts from the 2013 HWRF (H213) showed an overall reduction in intensity forecast errors, mostly at the 4–5-day lead times. Verification of the H213’s skill against the climate persistence forecasts shows that although part of such improvements in 2013 is related to the different seasonal characteristics between the years 2012 and 2013, the new model upgrades implemented in 2013 could provide some further improvement that the 2012 version of HWRF could not achieve. Further examination of rapid intensification (RI) events demonstrates noticeable skill of H213 with the probability of detection (POD) index of 0.22 in 2013 compared to 0.09 in 2012, suggesting that H213 starts to show skill in predicting RI events in the WPAC.

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