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Yunheng Wang
,
Youngsun Jung
,
Timothy A. Supinie
, and
Ming Xue

Abstract

A hybrid parallel scheme for the ensemble square root filter (EnSRF) suitable for parallel assimilation of multiscale observations, including those from dense observational networks such as those of radar, is developed based on the domain decomposition strategy. The scheme handles internode communication through a message passing interface (MPI) and the communication within shared-memory nodes via Open Multiprocessing (OpenMP) threads. It also supports pure MPI and pure OpenMP modes. The parallel framework can accommodate high-volume remote-sensed radar (or satellite) observations as well as conventional observations that usually have larger covariance localization radii.

The performance of the parallel algorithm has been tested with simulated and real radar data. The parallel program shows good scalability in pure MPI and hybrid MPI–OpenMP modes, while pure OpenMP runs exhibit limited scalability on a symmetric shared-memory system. It is found that in MPI mode, better parallel performance is achieved with domain decomposition configurations in which the leading dimension of the state variable arrays is larger, because this configuration allows for more efficient memory access. Given a fixed amount of computing resources, the hybrid parallel mode is preferred to pure MPI mode on supercomputers with nodes containing shared-memory cores. The overall performance is also affected by factors such as the cache size, memory bandwidth, and the networking topology. Tests with a real data case with a large number of radars confirm that the parallel data assimilation can be done on a multicore supercomputer with a significant speedup compared to the serial data assimilation algorithm.

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Alexandre O. Fierro
,
Yunheng Wang
,
Jidong Gao
, and
Edward R. Mansell

Abstract

The assimilation of water vapor mass mixing ratio derived from total lightning data from the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) within a three-dimensional variational (3DVAR) system is evaluated for the analysis and short-term forecast (≤6 h) of a high-impact convective event over the northern Great Plains in the United States. Building on recent work, the lightning data assimilation (LDA) method adjusts water vapor mass mixing ratio within a fixed layer depth above the lifted condensation level by assuming nearly water-saturated conditions at observed lightning locations. In this algorithm, the total water vapor mass added by the LDA is balanced by an equal removal outside observed lightning locations. Additional refinements were also devised to partially alleviate the seasonal and geographical dependence of the original scheme. To gauge the added value of lightning, radar data (radial velocity and reflectivity) were also assimilated with or without lightning. Although the method was evaluated in quasi–real time for several high-impact weather events throughout 2018, this work will focus on one specific, illustrative severe weather case wherein the control simulation—which did not assimilate any data—was eventually able to initiate and forecast the majority of the observed storms. Given a relatively reasonable forecast in the control experiment, the GLM and radar assimilation experiments were still able to improve the short-term forecast of accumulated rainfall and composite radar reflectivity further, as measured by neighborhood-based metrics. These results held whether the simulations made use of one single 3DVAR analysis or high-frequency (10 min) successive cycling over a 1-h period.

Free access
Sijie Pan
,
Jidong Gao
,
Thomas A. Jones
,
Yunheng Wang
,
Xuguang Wang
, and
Jun Li

Abstract

With the launch of GOES-16 in November 2016, effective utilization of its data in convective-scale numerical weather prediction (NWP) has the potential to improve high-impact weather (HIWeather) forecasts. In this study, the impact of satellite-derived layered precipitable water (LPW) and cloud water path (CWP) in addition to NEXRAD observations on short-term convective-scale NWP forecasts are examined using three severe weather cases that occurred in May 2017. In each case, satellite-derived CWP and LPW products and radar observations are assimilated into the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF-ARW) Model using the NSSL hybrid Warn-on-Forecast (WoF) analysis and forecast system. The system includes two components: the GSI-EnKF system and a deterministic 3DEnVAR system. This study examines deterministic 0–6-h forecasts launched from the hybrid 3DEnVAR analyses for the three severe weather events. Three types of experiments are conducted and compared: (i) the control experiment (CTRL) without assimilating any data, (ii) the radar experiment (RAD) with the assimilation of radar and surface observations, and (iii) the satellite experiment (RADSAT) with the assimilation of all observations including surface-, radar-, and satellite-derived CWP and LPW. The results show that assimilating additional GOES products improves short-range forecasts by providing more accurate initial conditions, especially for moisture and temperature variables.

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Qin Xu
,
Kang Nai
,
Li Wei
,
Nathan Snook
,
Yunheng Wang
, and
Ming Xue

Abstract

A time–space shift method is developed for relocating model-predicted tornado vortices to radar-observed locations to improve the model initial conditions and subsequent predictions of tornadoes. The method consists of the following three steps. (i) Use the vortex center location estimated from radar observations to sample the best ensemble member from tornado-resolving ensemble predictions. Here, the best member is defined in terms of the predicted vortex center track that has a closest point, say at the time of t = t *, to the estimated vortex center at the initial time t 0 (when the tornado vortex signature is first detected in radar observations). (ii) Create a time-shifted field from the best ensemble member in which the field within a circular area of about 10-km radius around the vortex center is taken from t = t *, while the field outside this circular area is transformed smoothly via temporal interpolation to the best ensemble member at t 0. (iii) Create a time–space-shifted field in which the above time-shifted circular area is further shifted horizontally to co-center with the estimated vortex center at t 0, while the field outside this circular area is transformed smoothly via spatial interpolation to the non-shifted field at t 0 from the best ensemble member. The method is applied to the 20 May 2013 Oklahoma Newcastle–Moore tornado case, and is shown to be very effective in improving the tornado track and intensity predictions.

Significance Statement

The time–space shift method developed in this paper can smoothly relocate tornado vortices in model-predicted fields to match radar-observed locations. The method is found to be very effective in improving not only model initial condition but also the subsequent tornado track and intensity predictions. The method is also not sensitive to small errors in radar-estimated vortex center location at the initial time. The method should be useful for future real-time or even operational applications although further tests and improvements are needed (and are planned).

Free access
Haiqin Chen
,
Jidong Gao
,
Tao Sun
,
Yaodeng Chen
,
Yunheng Wang
, and
Jacob T. Carlin

Abstract

The differential reflectivity (ZDR) column is a notable polarimetric signature related to updrafts in deep moist convection. In this study, pseudo–water vapor (qυ) observations are retrieved from observed ZDR columns under the assumption that humidity is saturated within the convection where ZDR columns are detected, and are then assimilated within the 3DVar framework. The impacts of assimilating pseudo-qυ observations from ZDR columns on short-term severe weather prediction are first evaluated for a squall-line case. Radar data analysis indicates that the ZDR columns are mainly located on the inflow side of the high-reflectivity region. Assimilation of the pseudo-qυ observations leads to an enhancement of qυ within the convection, while concurrently reducing humidity in no-rain areas. Sensitivity experiments indicate that a tuned smaller observation error and a shorter horizontal decorrelation scale are optimal for a better assimilation of pseudo-qυ from ZDR columns, resulting in more stable rain rates during short-term forecasts. Additionally, a 15-min cycling assimilation frequency yields the best performance, providing the most accurate reflectivity forecast in terms of both location and intensity. Analysis of thermodynamic fields reveal that assimilating ZDR columns provides more favorable initial conditions for sustaining convection, including sustainable moisture condition, a strong cold pool, and divergent winds near the surface, consequently enhancing reflectivity and precipitation. With the optimal configuration determined from the sensitivity tests, a quantitative evaluation further demonstrates that assimilating the pseudo-qυ observations from ZDR columns using the 3DVar method can improve the 0–3-h reflectivity and accumulated precipitation predictions of convective storms.

Restricted access
Junjun Hu
,
Alexandre O. Fierro
,
Yunheng Wang
,
Jidong Gao
, and
Edward R. Mansell

Abstract

The recent successful deployment of the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) on board the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R series (GOES-16/17) provides nearly uniform spatiotemporal measurements of total lightning (intracloud plus cloud to ground) over the Americas and adjacent vast oceanic regions. This study evaluates the potential value of assimilating GLM-derived water vapor mixing ratio on short-term (≤6 h), cloud-scale (dx = 1.5 km) forecasts of five severe weather events over the Great Plains of the United States using a three-dimensional variational (3DVAR) data assimilation (DA) system. Toward a more systematic assimilation of real GLM data, this study conducted sensitivity tests aimed at evaluating the impact of the horizontal decorrelation length scale, DA cycling frequency, and the time window size for accumulating GLM lightning observations prior to the DA. Forecast statistics aggregated over all five cases suggested that an optimal forecast performance is obtained when lightning measurements are accumulated over a 10-min interval and GLM-derived water vapor mixing ratio values are assimilated every 15 min with a horizontal decorrelation length scale of 3 km. This suggested configuration for the GLM DA together with companion experiments (i) not assimilating any data, (ii) assimilating radar data only, and (iii) assimilating both GLM and radar data were evaluated for the same five cases. Overall, GLM data have shown potential to help improve the short-term (<3 h) forecast skill of composite reflectivity fields and individual storm tracks. While this result also held for accumulated rainfall, longer-term (≥3 h) forecasts were generally characterized by noteworthy wet biases.

Free access
Ming Xue
,
Jordan Schleif
,
Fanyou Kong
,
Kevin W. Thomas
,
Yunheng Wang
, and
Kefeng Zhu

Abstract

Twice-daily 48-h tropical cyclone (TC) forecasts were produced for the fall 2010 Atlantic hurricane season using the Advanced Research core of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF-ARW) model on a large 4-km grid covering much of the northern Atlantic. WRF forecasts initialized from operational Global Forecast System (GFS) analyses based on the gridpoint statistical interpolation (GSI) three-dimensional variational data assimilation (3DVAR) system and from experimental global ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) analyses, and corresponding global GFS forecasts were intercompared. For the track, WRF forecasts show improvement over GFS forecasts using either set of initial conditions (ICs). The EnKF-initialized GFS and WRF are also better than the corresponding GSI-initialized forecasts, but the difference is not always statistically significant. At all lead times, the WRF track errors are comparable to or smaller than the National Hurricane Center (NHC) official track forecast error, with those of the EnKF WRF being smallest. For weaker TCs, more improvement comes from the model (resolution) than from the ICs. For hurricane intensity TCs, EnKF ICs produce better track forecasts than GSI ICs, with the best forecast coming from WRF at most lead times. For intensity, EnKF ICs consistently outperform GSI ICs in both models for weaker TCs. For hurricane-strength TCs, EnKF ICs produce forecasts statistically indistinguishable from GSI ICs in either model. For all TCs combined, WRF produces about half the error of the corresponding GFS simulation beyond 24 h, and at 36 and 48 h, the errors are smaller than those from NHC official forecasts. The improvement is even greater for hurricane-strength TCs. Overall, the WRF forecasts initialized with EnKF ICs have the smallest intensity error, and the difference is statistically significant compared to the GFS forecasts.

Full access
Aaron Johnson
,
Xuguang Wang
,
Ming Xue
,
Fanyou Kong
,
Gang Zhao
,
Yunheng Wang
,
Kevin W. Thomas
,
Keith A. Brewster
, and
Jidong Gao

Abstract

Multiscale convection-allowing precipitation forecast perturbations are examined for two forecasts and systematically over 34 forecasts out to 30-h lead time using Haar Wavelet decomposition. Two small-scale initial condition (IC) perturbation methods are compared to the larger-scale IC and physics perturbations in an experimental convection-allowing ensemble. For a precipitation forecast driven primarily by a synoptic-scale baroclinic disturbance, small-scale IC perturbations resulted in little precipitation forecast perturbation energy on medium and large scales, compared to larger-scale IC and physics (LGPH) perturbations after the first few forecast hours. However, for a case where forecast convection at the initial time grew upscale into a mesoscale convective system (MCS), small-scale IC and LGPH perturbations resulted in similar forecast perturbation energy on all scales after about 12 h. Small-scale IC perturbations added to LGPH increased total forecast perturbation energy for this case. Averaged over 34 forecasts, the small-scale IC perturbations had little impact on large forecast scales while LGPH accounted for about half of the error energy on such scales. The impact of small-scale IC perturbations was also less than, but comparable to, the impact of LGPH perturbations on medium scales. On small scales, the impact of small-scale IC perturbations was at least as large as the LGPH perturbations. The spatial structure of small-scale IC perturbations affected the evolution of forecast perturbations, especially at medium scales. There was little systematic impact of the small-scale IC perturbations when added to LGPH. These results motivate further studies on properly sampling multiscale IC errors.

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Rebecca D. Adams-Selin
,
Christina Kalb
,
Tara Jensen
,
John Henderson
,
Tim Supinie
,
Lucas Harris
,
Yunheng Wang
,
Burkely T. Gallo
, and
Adam J. Clark

Abstract

Hail forecasts produced by the CAM-HAILCAST pseudo-Lagrangian hail size forecasting model were evaluated during the 2019, 2020, and 2021 NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT) Spring Forecasting Experiments (SFEs). As part of this evaluation, HWT SFE participants were polled about their definition of a “good” hail forecast. Participants were presented with two different verification methods conducted over three different spatiotemporal scales, and were then asked to subjectively evaluate the hail forecast as well as the different verification methods themselves. Results recommended use of multiple verification methods tailored to the type of forecast expected by the end-user interpreting and applying the forecast. The hail forecasts evaluated during this period included an implementation of CAM-HAILCAST in the Limited Area Model of the Unified Forecast System with the Finite Volume 3 (FV3) dynamical core. Evaluation of FV3-HAILCAST over both 1- and 24-h periods found continued improvement from 2019 to 2021. The improvement was largely a result of wide intervariability among FV3 ensemble members with different microphysics parameterizations in 2019 lessening significantly during 2020 and 2021. Overprediction throughout the diurnal cycle also lessened by 2021. A combination of both upscaling neighborhood verification and an object-based technique that only retained matched convective objects was necessary to understand the improvement, agreeing with the HWT SFE participants’ recommendations for multiple verification methods.

Significance Statement

“Good” forecasts of hail can be determined in multiple ways and must depend on both the performance of the guidance and the perspective of the end-user. This work looks at different verification strategies to capture the performance of the CAM-HAILCAST hail forecasting model across three years of the Spring Forecasting Experiment (SFE) in different parent models. Verification strategies were informed by SFE participant input via a survey. Skill variability among models decreased in SFE 2021 relative to prior SFEs. The FV3 model in 2021, compared to 2019, provided improved forecasts of both convective distribution and 38-mm (1.5 in.) hail size, as well as less overforecasting of convection from 1900 to 2300 UTC.

Free access
Anwei Lai
,
Jidong Gao
,
Steven E. Koch
,
Yunheng Wang
,
Sijie Pan
,
Alexandre O. Fierro
,
Chunguang Cui
, and
Jinzhong Min

Abstract

To improve severe thunderstorm prediction, a novel pseudo-observation and assimilation approach involving water vapor mass mixing ratio is proposed to better initialize NWP forecasts at convection-resolving scales. The first step of the algorithm identifies areas of deep moist convection by utilizing the vertically integrated liquid water (VIL) derived from three-dimensional radar reflectivity fields. Once VIL is obtained, pseudo–water vapor observations are derived based on reflectivity thresholds within columns characterized by deep moist convection. Areas of spurious convection also are identified by the algorithm to help reduce their detrimental impact on the forecast. The third step is to assimilate the derived pseudo–water vapor observations into a convection-resolving-scale NWP model along with radar radial velocity and reflectivity fields in a 3DVAR framework during 4-h data assimilation cycles. Finally, 3-h forecasts are launched every hour during that period. The performance of this method is examined for two selected high-impact severe thunderstorm events: namely, the 24 May 2011 Oklahoma and 16 May 2017 Texas and Oklahoma tornado outbreaks. Relative to a control simulation that only assimilated radar data, the analyses and forecasts of these supercells (reflectivity patterns, tracks, and updraft helicity tracks) are qualitatively and quantitatively improved in both cases when the water vapor information is added into the analysis.

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