J11.5 NOAA/AOML/HRD's Hurricane Ensemble Data Assimilation System (HEDAS), results of semi-operational implementation during the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season

Tuesday, 25 January 2011: 2:30 PM
2B (Washington State Convention Center)
Kathryn Sellwood, University of Miami/CIMAS and NOAA/AOML/HRD, Miami, FL; and A. Aksoy, T. Vukicevic, S. Aberson, and S. Lorsolo

The Hurricane Ensemble Data Assimilation System (HEDAS) was developed at the Hurricane Research Division (HRD) of NOAA, in conjunction with an experimental version of the Hurricane Weather and Research Forecast model (HWRFx), in an effort to improve the initial representation of the hurricane vortex by utilizing high resolution in-situ data collected during NOAA's Hurricane Field Program. HEDAS implements the “ensemble square root “ filter of Whitaker and Hamill (2002) using a 30- member ensemble obtained from NOAA/ESRL's ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) system and the assimilation is performed on a 3-km nest centered on the hurricane vortex. As part of NOAA's Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program (HFIP), HEDAS will be run in a semi-operational mode for the first time during the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season and will assimilate airborne Doppler radar winds, dropwindsonde and flight level wind, temperature, pressure and relative humidity, and Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer surface wind observations as they become available. HEDAS has been implemented in an experimental mode for the cases of Hurricane Bill, 2009 and Paloma, 2008 to confirm functionality and determine the optimal configuration of the system. This test case demonstrates the importance of assimilating thermodynamic data in addition to wind observations and the benefit of increasing the quantity and distribution of observations. Applying HEDAS to a larger sample of storm forecasts would provide further insight into the behavior of the model when inner core aircraft observations are assimilated. The main focus of this talk will be to present a summary of HEDAS performance in the HWRFx model for the inaugural season. The HEDAS analyses and the resulting HWRFx forecasts will be compared with HWRFx analyses and forecasts produced concurrently using the HRD modeling group's vortex initialization which does not employ data assimilation. The initial vortex and subsequent forecasts will be evaluated based on the thermodynamic structure, wind field, track and intensity. Related HEDAS research to be presented by HRD's data assimilation group include evaluations of the geostrophic wind balance and covariance structures for the Hurricane Bill (2009) experiments, and Observation System Simulation experiments (OSSEs) for the case of Hurricane Paloma (2008) using both model-generated and real observations.
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