• A Regime-Based Evaluation of Southern and Northern Great Plains Warm-Season Precipitation Events in WRF

      Wang, Jingyu; Dong, Xiquan; Kennedy, Aaron; Hagenhoff, Brooke; Xi, Baike; Univ Arizona, Dept Hydrol & Atmospher Sci (AMER METEOROLOGICAL SOC, 2019-08)
      A competitive neural network known as the self-organizing map (SOM) is used to objectively identify synoptic patterns in the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) for warm-season (April-September) precipitation events over the Southern and Northern Great Plains (SGP/NGP) from 2007 to 2014. Classifications for both regions demonstrate contrast in dominant synoptic patterns ranging from extratropical cyclones to subtropical ridges, all of which have preferred months of occurrence. Precipitation from deterministic Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model simulations run by the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) are evaluated against National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Stage IV observations. The SGP features larger observed precipitation amount, intensity, and coverage, as well as better model performance than the NGP. Both regions' simulated convective rain intensity and coverage have good agreement with observations, whereas the stratiform rain (SR) is more problematic with weaker intensity and larger coverage. Further evaluation based on SOM regimes shows that WRF bias varies with the type of meteorological forcing, which can be traced to differences in the diurnal cycle and properties of stratiform and convective rain. The higher performance scores are generally associated with the extratropical cyclone condition than the subtropical ridge. Of the six SOM classes over both regions, the largest precipitation oversimulation is found for SR dominated classes, whereas a nocturnal negative precipitation bias exists for classes featuring upscale growth of convection.
    • Regional Thermodynamic Characteristics Distinguishing Long- and Short-Duration Freezing Rain Events over North America

      McCray, Christopher D.; Gyakum, John R.; Atallah, Eyad H.; Univ Arizona, Dept Hydrol & Atmospher Sci (AMER METEOROLOGICAL SOC, 2020-03-13)
      Freezing rain is an especially hazardous winter weather phenomenon that remains particularly challenging to forecast. Here, we identify the salient thermodynamic characteristics distinguishing long-duration (six or more hours) freezing rain events from short-duration (2-4 h) events in three regions of the United States and Canada from 1979 to 2016. In the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada, strong surface cold-air advection is not common during freezing rain events. Colder onset temperatures at the surface and in the near-surface cold layer support longer-duration events there, allowing heating mechanisms (e.g., the release of latent heat of fusion when rain freezes at the surface) to act for longer periods before the surface reaches 0 degrees C and precipitation transitions to rain. In the south-central United States, cold air at the surface is replenished via continuous cold-air advection, reducing the necessity of cold onset surface temperatures for event persistence. Instead, longer-duration events are associated with warmer and deeper >0 degrees C warm layers aloft and stronger advection of warm and moist air into this layer, delaying its erosion via cooling mechanisms such as melting. Finally, in the southeastern United States, colder and especially drier onset conditions in the cold layer are associated with longer-duration events, with evaporative cooling crucial to maintaining the subfreezing surface temperatures necessary for freezing rain. Through an improved understanding of the regional conditions supporting freezing rain event persistence, we hope to provide useful information to forecasters in their attempt to predict these potentially damaging events.
    • Seasonal Prediction of North Atlantic Accumulated Cyclone Energy and Major Hurricane Activity

      Davis, Kyle; Zeng, Xubin; Univ Arizona, Dept Hydrol & Atmospher Sci (AMER METEOROLOGICAL SOC, 2019-02)
      Building upon our previous seasonal hurricane prediction model, here we develop two statistical models to predict the number of major hurricanes (MHs) and accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) in the North Atlantic basin using monthly data from March to May for an early June forecast. The input data include zonal pseudo-wind stress to the 3/2 power, sea surface temperature in the North Atlantic, and, depending on the magnitude of the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation index, the multivariate ENSO index. From 1968 to 2017, these models have a mean absolute error of 0.96 storms for MHs and 30 units for ACE. When tested over an independent period from 1958 to 1967, the models show a 22% improvement for MHs and 16% for ACE over a no-skill metric based on a 5-yr running average. Both the MH and ACE results show consistent improvements over those produced by three other centers using statistical-dynamical hybrid models and a 5-yr running average prediction over the period 2000-17 for MHs (2003-17 for ACE) in a simulated real-time prediction. These improvements vary from 25% to 37% for MHs and from 15% to 37% for ACE. While most forecasting centers called for a slightly above-average hurricane season in May/June 2017, our models predicted in June 2017 a very active season, in much better agreement with observations.