Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 10 items for

  • Author or Editor: Xuanli Li x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search
Xuanli Li and Zhaoxia Pu

Abstract

An advanced research version of the Weather Research and Forecasting (ARW) Model is used to simulate the early rapid intensification of Hurricane Emily (2005) using grids nested to high resolution (3 km). A series of numerical simulations is conducted to examine the sensitivity of the simulation to available cloud microphysical (CM) and planetary boundary layer (PBL) parameterization schemes. Results indicate that the numerical simulations of the early rapid intensification of Hurricane Emily are very sensitive to the choice of CM and PBL schemes in the ARW model. Specifically, with different CM schemes, the simulated minimum central sea level pressure (MSLP) varies by up to 29 hPa, and the use of various PBL schemes has resulted in differences in the simulated MSLP of up to 19 hPa during the 30-h forecast period. Physical processes associated with the above sensitivities are investigated. It is found that the magnitude of the environmental vertical wind shear is not well correlated with simulated hurricane intensities. In contrast, the eyewall convective heating distributions and the latent heat flux and high equivalent potential temperature (θe) feeding from the ocean surface are directly associated with the simulated intensities. Consistent with recognized facts, higher latent heat release in stronger eyewall convection, stronger surface energy, and high θe air feeding from the ocean surface into the hurricane eyewall are evident in the more enhanced convection and intense storms. The sensitivity studies in this paper also indicate that the contributions from the CM and PBL processes can only partially explain the slow intensification in the ARW simulations. Simulation at 1-km grid resolution shows a slight improvement in Emily’s intensity forecast, implying that the higher resolution is somewhat helpful, but still not enough to cause the model to reproduce the real intensity of the hurricane.

Full access
Xuanli Li and John R. Mecikalski

Abstract

The dual-polarization (dual pol) Doppler radar can transmit/receive both horizontally and vertically polarized power returns. The dual-pol radar measurements have been shown to provide a more accurate precipitation estimate compared to traditional radars. In this study, the horizontal reflectivity ZH, differential reflectivity Z DR, specific differential phase K DP, and radial velocity VR collected by the C-band Advanced Radar for Meteorological and Operational Research (ARMOR) are assimilated for two convective storms. A warm-rain scheme is constructed to assimilate ZH, Z DR, and K DP data using the three-dimensional variational data assimilation (3DVAR) system with the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting Model (ARW-WRF). The main goals of this study are first to demonstrate and compare the impact of various dual-pol variables in initialization of real case convective storms and second to test how the dual-pol fields may be better used with a 3DVAR system.

The results show that the ZH, Z DR, K DP, and VR data substantially improve the initial condition for two mesoscale convective storms. Significant positive impacts on short-term forecast are obtained for both storms. Additionally, K DP and Z DR data assimilation is shown to be superior to ZH and Z DR and ZH-only data assimilation when the warm-rain microphysics is adopted. With the ongoing upgrade of the current Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) network to include dual-pol capabilities (started in early 2011), the findings from this study can be a helpful reference for utilizing the dual-pol radar data in numerical simulations of severe weather and related quantitative precipitation forecasts.

Full access
Zhaoxia Pu, Xuanli Li, and Edward J. Zipser

Abstract

A diagnostic study is conducted to examine the initial and forecast errors in a short-range numerical simulation of Hurricane Emily’s (2005) early rapid intensification. The initial conditions and the simulated hurricane vortices using high-resolution grids (1 and 3 km), generated from the Advanced Research version of the Weather Research and Forecasting (ARW) model and its three-dimensional variational data assimilation (3DVAR) systems, are compared with the flight-level data acquired from the U.S. Air Force C-130J aircraft data.

Numerical simulation results show that the model fails at predicting the actual rapid intensification of the hurricane, although the initial intensity of the vortex matches the observed intensity. Comparing the model results with aircraft flight-level data, unrealistic thermal and convective structures of the storm eyewall are found in the initial conditions. In addition, the simulated eyewall does not contract rapidly enough during the model simulation. Increasing the model’s horizontal resolution from 3 to 1 km can help the model to produce a deeper storm and also a more realistic eye structure. However, even at 1 km the model is still not able to fully resolve the inner-core structures.

To provide additional insight, a set of mesoscale reanalyses is generated through the assimilation of available satellite and aircraft dropsonde data into the ARW model throughout the whole simulation period at a 6-h interval. It is found that the short-range numerical simulation of the hurricane has been greatly improved by the mesoscale reanalysis; the data assimilation helps the model to reproduce stronger wind, thermal, and convective structures of the storm, and a more realistic eyewall contraction and eye structure.

Results from this study suggest that a more accurate representation of the hurricane vortex, especially the inner-core structures in the initial conditions, is necessary for a more accurate forecast of hurricane rapid intensification.

Full access
Zhaoxia Pu, Xuanli Li, and Juanzhen Sun

Abstract

Accurate forecasting of a hurricane’s intensity changes near its landfall is of great importance in making an effective hurricane warning. This study uses airborne Doppler radar data collected during the NASA Tropical Cloud Systems and Processes (TCSP) field experiment in July 2005 to examine the impact of airborne radar observations on the short-range numerical simulation of hurricane track and intensity changes. A series of numerical experiments is conducted for Hurricane Dennis (2005) to study its intensity changes near a landfall. Both radar reflectivity and radial velocity–derived wind fields are assimilated into the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model with its three-dimensional variational data assimilation (3DVAR) system. Numerical results indicate that the radar data assimilation has greatly improved the simulated structure and intensity changes of Hurricane Dennis. Specifically, the assimilation of radar reflectivity data shows a notable influence on the thermal and hydrometeor structures of the initial vortex and the precipitation structure in the subsequent forecasts, although its impact on the intensity and track forecasts is relatively small. In contrast, assimilation of radar wind data results in moderate improvement in the storm-track forecast and significant improvement in the intensity and precipitation forecasts of Hurricane Dennis. The hurricane landfall, intensification, and weakening during the simulation period are well captured by assimilating both radar reflectivity and wind data.

Full access
Xuanli Li, John R. Mecikalski, and Derek Posselt

Abstract

In this study, an ice-phase microphysics forward model has been developed for the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model three-dimensional variational data assimilation (WRF 3D-Var) system. Radar forward operators for reflectivity and the polarimetric variable, specific differential phase (K DP), have been built into the ice-phase WRF 3D-Var package to allow modifications in liquid (cloud water and rain) and solid water (cloud ice and snow) fields through data assimilation. Experiments have been conducted to assimilate reflectivity and radial velocity observations collected by the Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D) in Hytop, Alabama, for a mesoscale convective system (MCS) on 15 March 2008. Numerical results have been examined to assess the impact of the WSR-88D data using the ice-phase WRF 3D-Var radar data assimilation package. The main goals are to first demonstrate radar data assimilation with an ice-phase microphysics forward model and second to improve understanding on how to enhance the utilization of radar data in numerical weather prediction. Results showed that the assimilation of reflectivity and radial velocity data using the ice-phase system provided significant improvement especially in the mid- to upper troposphere. The improved initial conditions led to apparent improvement in the short-term precipitation forecast of the MCS. An additional experiment has been conducted to explore the assimilation of K DP data collected by the Advanced Radar for Meteorological and Operational Research (ARMOR). Results showed that K DP data have been successfully assimilated using the ice-phase 3D-Var package. A positive impact of the K DP data has been found on rainwater in the lower troposphere and snow in the mid- to upper troposphere.

Full access
Derek J. Posselt, Xuanli Li, Samantha A. Tushaus, and John R. Mecikalski

Abstract

Dual-polarization Doppler radar has proven useful for the estimation of hydrometeor content and the classification of hydrometeor type. Recent studies have leveraged dual-polarization-specific information to produce improved assimilated cloud and precipitation fields from the warm rain (above freezing) portion of deep convective storms. While the strengths of dual-polarization radar observations have been conclusively shown for rain and hail hydrometeors, it is less clear how much information is provided in mixed-phase and ice-only regions.

In this paper, a Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm is used to examine the information content of dual-polarization-specific variables in the ice-phase region of a convective storm. Results are used to quantify how much information is added by specific differential phase and radar correlation coefficient, as well as how this information is degraded when the assumed particle size distribution and particle density are allowed to vary. It is found that dual-polarization-specific observations (K dp and ρhv) provide significant information on rimed ice content, and moderate information on pristine ice, especially where snow mass is more than 10% of the total volume hydrometeor mass. There is a significant reduction in information content for rain and a near-complete loss of information for graupel–hail and snow when the particle size distribution and ice particle densities are not well known, and there are systematic changes in radar information gain and loss with changes in hydrometeor mass. The results highlight the need for a thorough exploration of forward model sensitivities prior to performing radar data assimilation.

Full access
Kacie E. Hoover, John R. Mecikalski, Timothy J. Lang, Xuanli Li, Tyler J. Castillo, and Themis Chronis

Abstract

Tropical convection during the onset of two Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) events, in October and December of 2011, was simulated using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model. Observations from the Dynamics of the MJO (DYNAMO) field campaign were assimilated into the WRF Model for an improved simulation of the mesoscale features of tropical convection. The WRF simulations with the assimilation of DYNAMO data produced realistic representations of mesoscale convection related to westerly wind bursts (WWBs) as well as downdraft-induced gust fronts. An end-to-end simulator (E2ES) for the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission was then applied to the WRF dataset, producing simulated CYGNSS near-surface wind speed data. The results indicated that CYGNSS could detect mesoscale wind features such as WWBs and gust fronts even in the presence of simulated heavy precipitation. This study has two primary conclusions as a consequence: 1) satellite simulators could be used to examine a mission’s capabilities for accomplishing secondary tasks and 2) CYGNSS likely will provide benefits to future tropical oceanic field campaigns that should be considered during their planning processes.

Full access
John R. Mecikalski, Xuanli Li, Lawrence D. Carey, Eugene W. McCaul Jr., and Timothy A. Coleman

Abstract

Lightning initiation (LI) events over Florida and Oklahoma are examined and statistically compared to understand the behavior of observed radar and infrared satellite interest fields (IFs) in the 75-min time frame surrounding LI. Lightning initiation is defined as the time of the first lightning, of any kind, generated in a cumulonimbus cloud. Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) infrared IFs, contoured frequency by altitude diagrams (CFADs) of radar reflectivity, and model sounding data, analyzed in concert, show the mean characteristics over time for 36 and 23 LI events over Florida and Oklahoma, respectively. CFADs indicate that radar echoes formed 60 min before Florida LI, yet Oklahoma storms exhibited a ~30-min delayed development. Large ice volumes in Florida developed from the freezing of lofted liquid hydrometeors formed by long-lived (~45 min) warm rain processes, which are mostly absent in Oklahoma. However, ice volumes developed abruptly in Oklahoma storms despite missing a significant warm rain component. GOES fields were significantly different before 30 min prior to LI between the two locations. Compared to Florida storms, lower precipitable water (PW), higher convective available potential energy, and higher 3.9-μm reflectance in Oklahoma, suggest stronger and drier updrafts producing a greater abundance of small ice particles. Somewhat larger 15-min 10.7-μm cooling rates in Oklahoma confirm stronger updrafts, while clouds in the 60–30-min pre-LI period show more IF variability (e.g., in the 6.5–10.7-μm difference). Florida storms (high PW, slower growth) offer more lead time for LI predictability, compared to Oklahoma storms (low PW, explosive growth), with defined anvils being obvious at the time of LI.

Full access
Zhaoxia Pu, Xuanli Li, Christopher S. Velden, Sim D. Aberson, and W. Timothy Liu

Abstract

Dropwindsonde, Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-11 (GOES-11) rapid-scan atmospheric motion vectors, and NASA Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT) near-surface wind data collected during NASA’s Tropical Cloud Systems and Processes (TCSP) field experiment in July 2005 were assimilated into an advanced research version of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model using its three-dimensional variational data assimilation (3DVAR) system. The impacts of the mesoscale data assimilation on WRF numerical simulation of Tropical Storms Cindy and Gert (2005) near landfall are examined. Sensitivity of the forecasts to the assimilation of each single data type is investigated. Specifically, different 3DVAR strategies with different analysis update cycles and resolutions are compared in order to identify the better methodology for assimilating the data from research aircraft and satellite for tropical cyclone study.

The results presented herein indicate the following. 1) Assimilation of dropwindsonde and satellite wind data into the WRF model improves the forecasts of the two tropical storms up to the landfall time. The QuikSCAT wind information is very important for improving the storm track forecast, whereas the dropwindsonde and GOES-11 wind data are also necessary for improved forecasts of intensity and precipitation. 2) Data assimilation also improves the quantitative precipitation forecasts (QPFs) near landfall of the tropical storms. 3) A 1-h rapid-update analysis cycle at high resolution (9 km) provides more accurate tropical cyclone forecasts than a regular 6-h analysis cycle at coarse (27 km) resolution. The high-resolution rapidly updated 3DVAR analysis cycle might be a practical way to assimilate the data collected from tropical cyclone field experiments.

Full access
Daniel J. Cecil, Dennis E. Buechler, John R. Mecikalski, and Xuanli Li

Abstract

The Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) is an instrument designed to continuously monitor lightning. It is on the GOES-16 and GOES-17 satellites, viewing much of the Western Hemisphere equatorward of 55°. Besides recording lightning-flash information, it transmits background visible-band images of its field of view every 2.5 min. The background images are not calibrated or geolocated, and they only have ~10-km grid spacing, but their 2.5-min sampling can potentially fill temporal gaps between full-disk imagery from the GOES satellites’ Advanced Baseline Imager. This paper applies an initial calibration and geolocation of the GLM background images and focuses on animations for two cases: a volcanic eruption in Guatemala and a severe thunderstorm complex in Argentina. Those locations typically have 10-min intervals between full-disk scans. Prior to April 2019, the interval was 15 min. Despite coarse horizontal resolution, the rapid updates from GLM background images appear to be useful in these cases. The 3 June 2018 eruption of Fuego Volcano appears in the GLM background imagery as an initial darkening of the pixels very near the volcano and then an outward expansion of the dark ash cloud. The GLM background imagery lacks horizontal textural detail but compensates for this lack with temporal detail. The ash cloud resembles a dark blob steadily expanding from frame to frame. Animation of the severe thunderstorm scene reveals vertical wind shear, with northerly low-level flow across a growing cumulus field and west-northwesterly upper-level flow at anvil level. Convective initiation is seen, as are propagating outflow boundaries and overshooting convective cloud tops.

Open access