92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Sunday, 22 January 2012
WRF Optimization for Forecasting Wet Microburst Potential
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Dereka Carroll, NCAR, Dallas, TX

Microbursts are strong localized winds from thunderstorms with speeds up to 168 miles per hour. Microbursts have a short life cycle and typically develop and dissipate in the span of a few minutes. The crashes of Eastern Air Lines flight 66 (1975), Pan Am flight 759 (1982), Delta Air lines flight 191 (1985) and USAIR flight 1016 (1994), just to name a few, have been linked to microburst. The sudden intense nature of microbursts poses many hazards not only to planes during take-off and landings, but to property as well.

The detection of microbursts by forecasters has improved in the Doppler radar era, however, providing advanced warnings remains a difficult task. It is hoped that through high resolution modeling, optimal configurations can be determined to improve the forecasting of microburst activity. This study tests the sensitivity of four cloud microphysics schemes used in the Weather Research and Forecasting Environmental Model System. The ideal microphysics scheme is chosen by comparing simulated maximum surface wind gusts to observed thunderstorm wind damage reports.

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