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A Preliminary Examination of Warm Season Precipitation Displacement Errors in the Upper Midwest in the HRRRE and HREF Ensembles

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  • 1 aDepartment of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
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Abstract

Increased operational use of convection-allowing models and ensembles offers substantial improvements for some aspects of convective weather forecasting; however, errors in quantitative precipitation forecasts (QPFs) from these models, especially those related to incorrect placement of heavy rainfall systems, limit their usefulness as an input into hydrological models. To improve understanding of QPF location errors, this study quantifies the displacement errors for the centroids of both 0–18-h accumulated rainfall and rainfall in the first hour after initiation of precipitation systems in both the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh Ensemble (HRRRE) and the High-Resolution Ensemble Forecast (HREF) for 30 events in the 2018 warm season. Ensemble member QPFs are compared to quantitative precipitation estimates (QPEs) obtained from the North Central River Forecast Center (NCRFC). HRRRE is found to have less spread in centroid locations than HREF, and both HRRRE and HREF 0–18-h QPF accumulations have less spread than the 1-h QPF accumulation when the precipitation event initiates. Furthermore, QPF centroids are most often displaced to the west in HRRRE for both 0–18-h QPF accumulation and the 1-h QPF accumulation when the precipitation event initiates. The 0–18-h QPF accumulation displacement errors can be reduced when adjustments are made to the forecasted position based upon displacement errors present in the first hour of precipitation, but only when the adjustments are a function of the intercardinal quadrant in which the initial hour QPF centroid was displaced.

© 2022 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: William A. Gallus, wgallus@gmail.com

Abstract

Increased operational use of convection-allowing models and ensembles offers substantial improvements for some aspects of convective weather forecasting; however, errors in quantitative precipitation forecasts (QPFs) from these models, especially those related to incorrect placement of heavy rainfall systems, limit their usefulness as an input into hydrological models. To improve understanding of QPF location errors, this study quantifies the displacement errors for the centroids of both 0–18-h accumulated rainfall and rainfall in the first hour after initiation of precipitation systems in both the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh Ensemble (HRRRE) and the High-Resolution Ensemble Forecast (HREF) for 30 events in the 2018 warm season. Ensemble member QPFs are compared to quantitative precipitation estimates (QPEs) obtained from the North Central River Forecast Center (NCRFC). HRRRE is found to have less spread in centroid locations than HREF, and both HRRRE and HREF 0–18-h QPF accumulations have less spread than the 1-h QPF accumulation when the precipitation event initiates. Furthermore, QPF centroids are most often displaced to the west in HRRRE for both 0–18-h QPF accumulation and the 1-h QPF accumulation when the precipitation event initiates. The 0–18-h QPF accumulation displacement errors can be reduced when adjustments are made to the forecasted position based upon displacement errors present in the first hour of precipitation, but only when the adjustments are a function of the intercardinal quadrant in which the initial hour QPF centroid was displaced.

© 2022 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: William A. Gallus, wgallus@gmail.com
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