18th Conference on Weather and Forecasting, 14th Conference on Numerical Weather Prediction, and Ninth Conference on Mesoscale Processes

Wednesday, 1 August 2001
Gauging mesoscale predictability of an unusual high latitude snow event via a multi-model intercomparison
Jeffrey S. Tilley, Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK; and R. Thoman
Poster PDF (270.0 kB)
An unusually strong winter storm impacted the northern Arctic coast of Alaska on 8 January 2001. In association with this storm, wind gusts of 100 km/h and more than 18 cm of snow were reported at Barrow (71.3N, 156.2W), which constituted the largest mid-winter snowfall of record.

Although the synoptic scale forcings related to this event were relatively well forecast, the mesoscale structure and forcings in the vicinity of the Alaska Arctic coast were not as well captured, making this case a good candidate for examining the degree of mesoscale predictability possible with current NWP models for such unusual winter Arctic systems.

In this paper we provide a synoptic and mesoscale overview of the event as well as an intercomparison of the mesoscale solutions (at various lead times) provided by not only the standard NCEP model suite available within NWS/Alaska Region but also MM5 forecasts conducted at AFWA and the University of Alaska. We conclude by briefly examining the utility of a multi-model ensemble solution constructed from the forecasts of the aforementioned models.

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