11B.1 Verification of Near-Storm Environment Analyses and Forecasts Using MPEX Upsonde Observations

Wednesday, 9 November 2016: 1:30 PM
Pavilion Ballroom West (Hilton Portland )
Christopher A. Kerr, CIMMS/Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and D. J. Stensrud and X. Wang

Convection-allowing models (CAMs) have been shown to accurately depict convective storm mode and intensity after radar and surface data assimilation.  However, these observations are not sufficient for verification of surrounding mesoscale near-storm environments.  The Mesoscale Predictability Experiment (MPEX) conducted during the spring of 2013 included upsonde operations to sample these near-storm environments.  Several regions of the environments were sampled including inflow, outflow, downstream, and anvil.  A four-day sequence of convective events from 28-31 May 2013 in the southern Great Plains is the focus of this study.  During this period, 81 MPEX upsondes were released. 

Each event is simulated by a 36-member ensemble created with physics diversity using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model while observations, including radar and surface, are assimilated using the Data Assimilation Research Testbed (DART).  The MPEX upsonde observations are not assimilated.  Overall, the ensemble analyses portray the near-storm environments rather well while some specific regions of the environments have larger biases.  For example, the analyses underestimate cold pool depth and storm inflow wind speed.  This study also examines environmental error growth during short-term forecasts (30-60 minutes) and how these errors may impact storm evolution.

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