Winter QPF Sensitivities to Snow Parameterizations and Comparisons to NASA CloudSat Observations
Andrew L. Molthan, University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL; and J. M. Haynes, G. J. Jedlovec, and W. M. Lapenta
As operational numerical weather prediction is performed at increasingly finer spatial resolution, precipitation traditionally represented by sub-grid scale parameterization schemes is now being calculated explicitly through the use of single- or multi-moment, bulk water microphysics schemes. As computational resources grow, the real-time application of these schemes is becoming available to a broader audience, ranging from national meteorological centers to their component forecast offices. A need for improved quantitative precipitation forecasts has been highlighted by the United States Weather Research Program, which advised that gains in forecasting skill will draw upon improved simulations of clouds and cloud microphysical processes.
Investments in space-borne remote sensing have produced the NASA A-Train of polar orbiting satellites, specially equipped to observe and catalog cloud properties. The NASA CloudSat instrument, a recent addition to the A-Train and the first 94 GHz radar system operated in space, provides a unique opportunity to compare observed cloud profiles to their modeled counterparts. Comparisons are available through the use of a radiative transfer model (QuickBeam), which simulates 94 GHz radar returns based on the microphysics of cloudy model profiles and the prescribed characteristics of their constituent hydrometeor classes.
CloudSat observations of snowfall are presented for a case in the central United States, with comparisons made to precipitating clouds as simulated by the Weather Research and Forecasting Model and the Goddard single-moment microphysics scheme. An additional forecast cycle is performed with a temperature-based parameterization of the snow distribution slope parameter, with comparisons to CloudSat observations provided through the QuickBeam simulator.
Extended Abstract (332K)
Supplementary URL: http://weather.msfc.nasa.gov/sport
Joint Session 14, Improvements to Numerical Weather Prediction and Short-Term Forecasting
Wednesday, 14 January 2009, 10:30 AM-12:00 PM, Room 224AB
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