Prediction and predictability of a catastrophic local extreme precipitation event through cloud-resolving ensemble analysis and forecasting with Doppler radar observations

Xue Xing Qiu, Fuqing Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Local extreme rain usually resulted in disasters such as flash floods and landslides. Upon today, it is still one of the most difficult tasks for operational weather forecast centers to predict those events accurately. In this paper, we simulate an extreme precipitation event with ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) assimilation of Doppler radial-velocity observations, and analyze the uncertainties of the assimilation. The results demonstrate that, without assimilation radar data, neither a single initialization of deterministic forecast nor an ensemble forecast with adding perturbations or multiple physical parameterizations can predict the location of strong precipitation. However, forecast was significantly improved with assimilation of radar data, especially the location of the precipitation. The direct cause of the improvement is the buildup of a deep mesoscale convection system with EnKF assimilation of radar data. Under a large scale background favorable for mesoscale convection, efficient perturbations of upstream mid-low level meridional wind and moisture are key factors for the assimilation and forecast. Uncertainty still exists for the forecast of this case due to its limited predictability. Both the difference of large scale initial fields and the difference of analysis obtained from EnKF assimilation due to small amplitude of initial perturbations could have critical influences to the event's prediction. Forecast could be improved through more cycles of EnKF assimilation. Sensitivity tests also support that more accurate forecasts are expected through improving numerical models and observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)518-532
Number of pages15
JournalScience China Earth Sciences
Volume59
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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