Using near-storm soundings from the Mesoscale Predictability Experiment to analyze convection permitting model accuracy: 28 May 2013
A 36-member nested domain ensemble is created using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to study this event. The outer domain (CONUS) has 15 km horizontal grid spacing while the inner domain encompassing Kansas, Oklahoma, and the Texas Panhandle has 3 km horizontal grid spacing. All available conventional observations, including WSR-88D radial velocity and reflectivity observations, are assimilated using an ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) from the Data Assimilation Research Testbed (DART). The experiment begins assimilating conventional observations at 0100 UTC 28 May with hourly cycles until 1900 UTC. Five minutes cycles begin at 1900 UTC with the assimilation of radar data along with MADIS mesonet and Oklahoma Mesonet observations on the inner domain. The resulting 5-minute analyses replicate the observed convective evolution quite well. The question is how well the numerical model reproduces the unobserved features, with a focus on comparing the model-produced soundings with the special MPEX upsonde observations both within and nearby the convective area. This type of comparison is needed to improve our understanding of radar data assimilation within convection permitting numerical models.