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Diabatic initialization of the Canadian Regional Finite-Element (RFE) Model Using Satellite Data. Part I: Methodology and Application to a Winter Storm

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  • 1 Recherche en Prévision Numérique, Service de l'Environnement Atmosphérique, Quebec, Canada
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Abstract

The usefulness of numerical weather prediction models in very short-range forecasting is limited by the spinup problem, resulting in an underestimation of both the divergent wind component and the precipitation.

To alleviate the spinup problem, latent-heating profiles were directly assimilated into the Canadian regional finite-element (RFE) model. The estimates of latent heating were based on the precipitation rates inferred from GOES infrared and visible imagery. The latent heating was distributed in the vertical according to the stratiform condensation scheme of the model, but the heating rates were normalized to correspond to the satellite-inferred rain rates. The initial relative humidity field was enhanced to 95% between sigma-level 0.875 and the cloud top wherever the probability of precipitation, derived from satellite imagery, was larger than 40%.

The results of a case study from the Canadian Atlantic Storms Program (CASP) indicated that the spinup time of the vertical motion, initially of the order of 9 hours, could be practically eliminated. The forecast precipitation rates in the frontal zone agreed closely with Nimbus-7 SMMR microwave observations as early as 1–2 hours after the initialization.

Abstract

The usefulness of numerical weather prediction models in very short-range forecasting is limited by the spinup problem, resulting in an underestimation of both the divergent wind component and the precipitation.

To alleviate the spinup problem, latent-heating profiles were directly assimilated into the Canadian regional finite-element (RFE) model. The estimates of latent heating were based on the precipitation rates inferred from GOES infrared and visible imagery. The latent heating was distributed in the vertical according to the stratiform condensation scheme of the model, but the heating rates were normalized to correspond to the satellite-inferred rain rates. The initial relative humidity field was enhanced to 95% between sigma-level 0.875 and the cloud top wherever the probability of precipitation, derived from satellite imagery, was larger than 40%.

The results of a case study from the Canadian Atlantic Storms Program (CASP) indicated that the spinup time of the vertical motion, initially of the order of 9 hours, could be practically eliminated. The forecast precipitation rates in the frontal zone agreed closely with Nimbus-7 SMMR microwave observations as early as 1–2 hours after the initialization.

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