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Xiaqiong Zhou and Bin Wang

Abstract

To understand the mechanisms responsible for the secondary eyewall replacement cycles and associated intensity changes in intense tropical cyclones (TCs), two numerical experiments are conducted in this study with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. In the experiments, identical initial conditions and model parameters are utilized except that the concentration of ice particles is enhanced in the sensitivity run. With enhanced ice concentrations, it is found that the secondary eyewall forms at an increased radius, the time required for eyewall replacement is extended, and the intensity fluctuation is relatively large. The enhanced concentrations of ice particles at the upper tropospheric outflow layer produces a noticeable subsidence region (moat) surrounding the primary eyewall. The presence of the moat forces the secondary eyewall to form at a relatively large radius. The axisymmetric equivalent potential temperature budget analysis reveals that the demise of the inner eyewall is primarily due to the interception of the boundary layer inflow supply of entropy by the outer convective ring, whereas the advection of low entropy air from the middle levels to the boundary inflow layers in the moat is not essential. The interception process becomes inefficient when the secondary eyewall is at a large radius; hence, the corresponding eyewall replacement is slow. After the demise of the inner eyewall, the outer eyewall has to maintain a warm core not only in the previous eye, but also in the moat. The presence of low equivalent potential temperature air in the moat results in the significant weakening of storm intensity. The results found here suggest that monitoring the features of the moat and the outer eyewall region can provide a clue for the prediction of TC intensity change associated with eyewall replacement.

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Xiaqiong Zhou, Bin Wang, Xuyang Ge, and Tim Li

Abstract

The primary goal of this study is to explore the factors that might influence the intensity change of tropical cyclones (TCs) associated with secondary eyewall replacement. Concentric eyewall structures in TCs with and without large intensity weakening are compared using the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) 2A12 and 2A25 data. It is found that the secondary eyewalls with a stratiform-type heating profile show a marked weakening, while those TCs with a convective-type heating weaken insignificantly or even intensify. This observed feature is supported by a set of sensitivity numerical experiments performed with the Weather Research and Forecasting model. With more active convection, the latent heat released in the outer eyewall and moat region can better sustain storm intensity. The prevailing stratiform precipitation results in low equivalent potential temperature air in the moat and reduces the entropy of the boundary layer inflow to the inner eyewall through persistent downdrafts, leading to a large intensity fluctuation. Comparison of observations and numerical model results reveals that the model tends to overproduce convective precipitation in the outer eyewall and the moat. It is possible that the model underestimates the storm intensity changes associated with eyewall replacement events.

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Xiaqiong Zhou, Yuejian Zhu, Dingchen Hou, and Daryl Kleist

Abstract

Two perturbation generation schemes, the ensemble transformation with rescaling (ETR) and the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF), are compared for the NCEP operational environment for the Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS). Experiments that utilize each of the two schemes are carried out and evaluated for two boreal summer seasons. It is found that these two schemes generally have comparable performance. Experiments utilizing both perturbation methods fail to generate sufficient spread at medium-range lead times beyond day 8. In general, the EnKF-based experiment outperforms the ETR in terms of the continuous ranked probability skill score (CRPSS) in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) for the first week. In the SH, the ensemble mean forecast is more skillful from the ETR perturbations. Additional experiments are performed with the stochastic total tendency perturbation (STTP) scheme, in which the total tendencies of all model variables are perturbed to represent the uncertainty in the forecast model. An improved spread–error relationship is found for the ETR-based experiments, but the STTP increases the ensemble spread for the EnKF-based experiment that is already overdispersive at early lead times, especially in the SH. With STTP employed, an increase in the EnKF-based CRPSS in the NH is reduced with a larger degradation in both the probability and ensemble-mean forecast skills in the SH. The results indicate that a rescaling of the EnKF initial perturbations and/or tuning of the STTP scheme is required when STTP is applied using the EnKF-based perturbations. This study provided guidance for the replacement of ETR with EnKF perturbations as part of the 2015 GEFS implementation.

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Juhui Ma, Yuejian Zhu, Dingchen Hou, Xiaqiong Zhou, and Malaquias Peña

Abstract

The ensemble transform with rescaling (ETR) method has been used to produce fast-growing components of analysis error in the NCEP Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS). The rescaling mask contained in the ETR method constrains the amplitude of perturbations to reflect regional variations of analysis error. However, because of a lack of suitable three-dimensional (3D) analysis error estimation, in the operational GEFS the mask is based on the estimated analysis error at 500 hPa and is not flow dependent but changes monthly. With the availability of an ensemble-based data assimilation system at NCEP, a 3D mask can be computed. This study generates initial perturbations by the ensemble transform with 3D rescaling (ET_3DR) and compares the performance with the ETR. Meanwhile, the ET_3DR is also applied within the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) method (hereafter EnKF_3DR).

Results from a set of experiments indicate that the 3D mask suppresses perturbations less in unstable regions. Relative to the ETR, the large amplitudes of the ET_3DR initial perturbations at 500 hPa better reflect areas of baroclinic instability over the extratropics and deep convection over the tropics. Furthermore, the maxima of the vertical distribution for the ET_3DR initial perturbations correspond to the heights of the subtropical westerly and tropical easterly jet regions. Such perturbations produce faster spread growths. Results with EnKF_3DR also show benefits from an orthonormalization by the ensemble transform algorithm and amplitude constraint by the 3D mask rescaling. Thus, the EnKF_3DR forecasts outperform the EnKF.

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Yuejian Zhu, Xiaqiong Zhou, Malaquias Peña, Wei Li, Christopher Melhauser, and Dingchen Hou

Abstract

The Global Ensemble Forecasting System (GEFS) is being extended from 16 to 35 days to cover the subseasonal period, bridging weather and seasonal forecasts. In this study, the impact of SST forcing on the extended-range land-only global 2-m temperature, continental United States (CONUS) accumulated precipitation, and MJO skill are explored with version 11 of the GEFS (GEFSv11) under various SST forcing configurations. The configurations consist of 1) the operational GEFS 90-day e-folding time of the observed real-time global SST (RTG-SST) anomaly relaxed to climatology, 2) an optimal AMIP configuration using the observed daily RTG-SST analysis, 3) a two-tier approach using the CFSv2-predicted daily SST, and 4) a two-tier approach using bias-corrected CFSv2-predicted SST, updated every 24 h. The experimental period covers the fall of 2013 and the winter of 2013/14. The results indicate that there are small differences in the ranked probability skill scores (RPSSs) between the various SST forcing experiments. The improvements in forecast skill of the Northern Hemisphere 2-m temperature and precipitation for weeks 3 and 4 are marginal, especially for North America. The bias-corrected CFSv2-predicted SST experiment generally delivers superior performance with statistically significant improvement in spatially and temporally aggregated 2-m temperature RPSSs over North America. Improved representation of the SST forcing (AMIP) increased the forecast skill for MJO indices up through week 2, but there is no significant improvement of the MJO forecast skill for weeks 3 and 4. These results are obtained over a short period with weak MJO activity and are also subject to internal model weaknesses in representing the MJO. Additional studies covering longer periods with upgraded model physics are warranted.

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Hong Guan, Yuejian Zhu, Eric Sinsky, Wei Li, Xiaqiong Zhou, Dingchen Hou, Christopher Melhauser, and Richard Wobus

Abstract

The National Centers for Environmental Prediction have generated an 18-yr (1999–2016) subseasonal (weeks 3 and 4) reforecast to support the Climate Prediction Center’s operational mission. To create this reforecast, the subseasonal experiment version of the GEFS was run every Wednesday, initialized at 0000 UTC with 11 members. The Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) and Global Data Assimilation System (GDAS) served as the initial analyses for 1999–2010 and 2011–16, respectively. The analysis of 2-m temperature error demonstrates that the model has a strong warm bias over the Northern Hemisphere (NH) and North America (NA) during the warm season. During the boreal winter, the 2-m temperature errors over NA exhibit large interannual and intraseasonal variability. For NA and the NH, weeks 3 and 4 errors are mostly saturated, with initial conditions having a negligible impact. Week 2 errors (day 11) are ~88.6% and 86.6% of their saturated levels, respectively. The 1999–2015 reforecast biases were used to calibrate the 2-m temperature forecasts in 2016, which reduces (increases) the systematic error (forecast skill) for NA, the NH, the Southern Hemisphere, and the tropics, with a maximum benefit for NA during the warm season. Overall, analysis adjustment for the CFSR period makes bias characteristics more consistent with the GDAS period over the NH and tropics and substantially improves the corresponding forecast skill levels. The calibration of the forecast using week 2 bias provides similar skill to using weeks 3 and 4 bias, promising the feasibility of using week 2 bias to calibrate the weeks 3 and 4 forecast. Our results also demonstrate that 10-yr reforecasts are an optimal training period. This is particularly beneficial considering limited computing resources.

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Chuanhai Qian, Fuqing Zhang, Benjamin W. Green, Jin Zhang, and Xiaqiong Zhou

Abstract

Supertyphoon Megi was the most intense tropical cyclone (TC) of 2010. Megi tracked westward through the western North Pacific and crossed the Philippines on 18 October. Two days later, Megi made a sharp turn to the north, an unusual track change that was not forecast by any of the leading operational centers. This failed forecast was a consequence of exceptionally large uncertainty in the numerical guidance—including the operational ensemble of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)—at various lead times before the northward turn. This study uses The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) Interactive Grand Global Ensemble dataset to examine the uncertainties in the track forecast of the ECMWF operational ensemble. The results show that Megi's sharp turn is sensitive to its own movement in the early period, the size and structure of the storm, the strength and extent of the western Pacific subtropical high, and an approaching eastward-moving midlatitude trough. In particular, a larger TC (in addition to having a stronger beta effect) may lead to a stronger erosion of the southwestern extent of the subtropical high, which will subsequently lead to an earlier and sharper northward turn.

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Xiaqiong Zhou, Yuejian Zhu, Dingchen Hou, Yan Luo, Jiayi Peng, and Richard Wobus

Abstract

A new version of the Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS, v11) is tested and compared with the operational version (v10) in a 2-yr parallel run. The breeding-based scheme with ensemble transformation and rescaling (ETR) used in the operational GEFS is replaced by the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) to generate initial ensemble perturbations. The global medium-range forecast model and the Global Forecast System (GFS) analysis used as the initial conditions are upgraded to the GFS 2015 implementation version. The horizontal resolution of GEFS increases from Eulerian T254 (~52 km) for the first 8 days of the forecast and T190 (~70 km) for the second 8 days to semi-Lagrangian T574 (~34 km) and T382 (~52 km), respectively. The sigma pressure hybrid vertical layers increase from 42 to 64 levels. The verification of geopotential height, temperature, and wind fields at selected levels shows that the new GEFS significantly outperforms the operational GEFS up to days 8–10 except for an increased warm bias over land in the extratropics. It is also found that the parallel system has better reliability in the short-range probability forecasts of precipitation during warm seasons, but no clear improvement in cold seasons. There is a significant degradation of TC track forecasts at days 6–7 during the 2012–14 TC seasons over the Atlantic and eastern Pacific. This degradation is most likely a sampling issue from a low number of TCs during these three TC seasons. The results for an extended verification period (2011–14) and the recent two hurricane seasons (2015 and 2016) are generally positive. The new GEFS became operational at NCEP on 2 December 2015.

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Thomas M. Hamill, Jeffrey S. Whitaker, Anna Shlyaeva, Gary Bates, Sherrie Fredrick, Philip Pegion, Eric Sinsky, Yuejian Zhu, Vijay Tallapragada, Hong Guan, Xiaqiong Zhou, and Jack Woollen

Abstract

NOAA has created a global reanalysis dataset, intended primarily for initialization of reforecasts for its Global Ensemble Forecast System, version 12 (GEFSv12), which provides ensemble forecasts out to +35-days lead time. The reanalysis covers the period 2000–19. It assimilates most of the observations that were assimilated into the operational data assimilation system used for initializing global predictions. These include a variety of conventional data, infrared and microwave radiances, global positioning system radio occultations, and more. The reanalysis quality is generally superior to that from NOAA’s previous-generation Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR), demonstrated in the fit of short-term forecasts to the observations and in the skill of 5-day deterministic forecasts initialized from CFSR versus GEFSv12. Skills of reforecasts initialized from the new reanalyses are similar but slightly lower than skills initialized from a preoperational version of the real-time data assimilation system conducted at the higher, operational resolution. Control member reanalysis data on vertical pressure levels are made publicly available.

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Xiaqiong zhou, Yuejian Zhu, Dingchen Hou, Bing Fu, Wei Li, Hong Guan, Eric Sinsky, Walter Kolczynski, Xianwu Xue, Yan Luo, Jiayi Peng, Bo Yang, Vijay Tallapragada, and Philip Pegion

Abstract

The Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS) is upgraded to version 12, in which the legacy Global Spectral Model (GSM) is replaced by a model with a new dynamical core - the Finite Volume Cubed-Sphere Dynamical Core (FV3). Extensive tests were performed to determine the optimal model and ensemble configuration. The new GEFS has cubed-sphere grids with a horizontal resolution of about 25-km and an increased ensemble size from 20 to 30. It extends the forecast length from 16 days to 35 days to support subseasonal forecasts. The stochastic total tendency perturbation (STTP) scheme is replaced by two model uncertainty schemes: the Stochastically Perturbed Physics Tendencies (SPPT) scheme and Stochastic Kinetic Energy Backscatter (SKEB) scheme.

Forecast verification is performed on a period of more than two years of retrospective runs. The results show that the upgraded GEFS outperforms the operational-at-the-time version by all measures included in the GEFS verification package. The new system has a better ensemble error-spread relationship, significantly improved skills in large-scale environment forecasts, precipitation probability forecasts over CONUS, tropical cyclone track and intensity forecasts, and significantly reduced 2-m temperature biases over Northern America. GEFSv12 was implemented on September 23, 2020.

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