Improving High-Resolution Weather Forecasts using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model with an Improved Kain-Fritsch Scheme

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Thursday, 2 July 2015: 9:00 AM
Salon A-5 (Hilton Chicago)
Yue Zheng, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN; and K. Alapaty, J. A. Herwehe, A. Del Genio, and D. Niyogi

Abstract: Efforts to improve the prediction accuracy of high resolution (1-10 km) surface precipitation distribution and variability are of vital importance to local aspects of air pollution, wet deposition, and regional climate. However, precipitation biases and errors can occur at these spatial scales due to uncertainties in initial meteorological conditions and/or in grid-scale cloud microphysics schemes. In particular, it is still unclear to what extent a subgrid-scale convection scheme could be modified to bring in scale-awareness improving high-resolution short-term precipitation forecasts in the WRF model. To address these issues, we introduced scale-aware parameterized cloud dynamics for high-resolution forecasts by making several changes to the Kain-Fritsch (KF) convection parameterization scheme in WRF model. These improvements include subgrid-scale cloud-radiation interactions, a dynamic adjustment timescale, impacts of cloud updraft mass fluxes on grid-scale vertical velocity, and a lifting condensation level-based entrainment methodology including scale dependency.

A series of 48-hour retrospective forecasts using a combination of three treatments of convection (KF, updated KF, and the use of no cumulus parameterization), two cloud microphysics schemes, and two types of initial condition datasets, were performed over the U.S. southern Great Plains for the summers of 2002 and 2010 on 9- and 3-km grid spacings. Results indicate that (1) the source of initial conditions play a key role in high-resolution precipitation forecasting, and (2) our updated KF scheme greatly alleviates the excessive precipitation at 9-km grid spacing and improves results even at 3-km grid spacing. Overall, we found that the updated KF scheme incorporated into a high-resolution model does provide better forecasts for precipitation location and intensity.