13th Conference on Integrated Observing and Assimilation Systems for Atmosphere, Oceans, and Land Surface (IOAS-AOLS)


Examining the Impacts of High-Resolution Land and Ocean Surface Initialization on Local Model Predictions of Convection in the Southeastern U.S

Jonathan L. Case, ENSCO, Inc., Huntsville, AL; and S. V. Kumar, P. Santos, J. M. Medlin, and G. J. Jedlovec

One of the most challenging weather forecast problems in the southeastern U.S. is daily summertime pulse convection. During the summer, atmospheric flow and forcing are generally weak in this region; thus, convection typically initiates in response to local forcing along sea/lake breezes, and other discontinuities often related to horizontal gradients in surface heating rates. Numerical simulations of pulse convection usually have low skill, even in local predictions at high resolution, due to the inherent chaotic nature of these precipitation systems. Forecast errors can arise from assumptions within physics parameterizations, model resolution limitations, as well as uncertainties in both the initial state of the atmosphere and land surface variables such as soil moisture and temperature. For this study, it is hypothesized that high-resolution, consistent representations of surface properties such as soil moisture and temperature, ground fluxes, and vegetation are necessary to better simulate the interactions between the land surface and atmosphere, and ultimately improve predictions of local circulations and summertime pulse convection.

The NASA Short-term Prediction Research and Transition (SPoRT) Center has been conducting studies to examine the impacts of high-resolution land surface initialization data generated by offline simulations of the NASA Land Information System (LIS) on subsequent numerical forecasts using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model (Case et al. 2008, to appear in the Journal of Hydrometeorology). Case et al. presents improvements to simulated sea breezes and surface verification statistics over Florida by initializing WRF with land surface variables from an offline LIS spin-up run, conducted on the exact WRF domain and resolution. The current project extends the previous work over Florida, focusing on selected case studies of typical pulse convection over the southeastern U.S., with an emphasis on improving local short-term WRF simulations over the Mobile, AL and Miami, FL NWS county warning areas. Future efforts may involve examining the impacts of assimilating remotely-sensed soil moisture data, and/or introducing weekly greenness vegetation fraction composites (as opposed to monthly climatologies) into offline NASA LIS runs. Based on positive impacts, the offline LIS runs could be transitioned into an operational mode, providing land surface initialization data to NWS forecast offices in real time.

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Session 5A, Mesoscale Data Assimilation and Impact Experiments—II
Tuesday, 13 January 2009, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM, Room 130

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