2.4 Transitioning Enhanced Land Surface Initialization and Model Verification Capabilities to the Kenya Meteorological Service

Wednesday, 13 January 2016: 4:45 PM
Room 343 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Jonathan L. Case, ENSCO, Inc., Huntsville, AL; and J. Mungai, V. Sakwa, B. T. Zavodsky, J. Srikishen, A. S. Limaye, and C. B. Blankenship
Manuscript (2.0 MB)

Flooding, severe weather, and drought are key forecasting challenges for the Kenya Meteorological Service (KMS), based in Nairobi. Atmospheric processes leading to convection, excessive precipitation and/or prolonged drought can be strongly influenced by land cover, vegetation, and soil moisture content, especially during anomalous conditions. It is thus important to represent accurately land surface state variables (green vegetation fraction, soil moisture, and soil temperature) in Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models. The NASA SERVIR and the Short-term Prediction Research and Transition (SPoRT) programs at Huntsville, AL have established a working partnership with KMS to enhance its regional modeling capabilities. SPoRT and SERVIR are providing experimental land surface initialization datasets and model verification capabilities for capacity building through enhanced operations at KMS. To support its forecasting operations, KMS is running experimental configurations of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model on a 12-km/4-km nested regional domain over eastern Africa, incorporating the experimental datasets provided by NASA SPoRT and SERVIR. Enhanced regional modeling capabilities have the potential to improve guidance in support of daily operations and high-impact weather and climate outlooks over Eastern Africa.

For enhanced land-surface initialization, the NASA Land Information System (LIS) is run over Eastern Africa at ~3-km resolution, providing real-time land surface initialization data in place of interpolated global model soil moisture and temperature data available at much coarser resolutions. A 10+ year LIS soil moisture climatology run has been made and will provide the basis for computing soil moisture percentiles to support drought and climate outlooks. Additionally, real-time green vegetation fraction data from the Suomi-NPP VIIRS instrument is being incorporated into the KMS-WRF runs, using the product generated by NOAA/NESDIS. Model verification capabilities are also being transitioned to KMS using NCAR's Model Evaluation Tools (MET) software in conjunction with a SPoRT-developed scripting package, in order to quantify and compare errors in simulated temperature, moisture and precipitation in the experimental WRF model simulations. Future enhancements shall include the assimilation of NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) retrievals into the Eastern Africa LIS simulations and incorporation of GPM/IMERG quantitative precipitation estimates to drive the LIS simulations and verify WRF model precipitation forecasts. This presentation will describe the collaboration between KMS, SERVIR, and SPoRT, discuss the transition and capacity development activities to date, and present selected model sensitivities using the enhanced land surface modeling datasets and verification capabilities.

Supplementary URL: http://weather.msfc.nasa.gov/sport/

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