Dynamics and Structure of Mesoscale Error Covariance of a Winter Cyclone Estimated through Short-Range Ensemble Forecasts

Fuqing Zhang
October 2005
Monthly Weather Review;Oct2005, Vol. 133 Issue 10, p2876
Academic Journal
Several sets of short-range mesoscale ensemble forecasts generated with different types of initial perturbations are used in this study to investigate the dynamics and structure of mesoscale error covariance in an intensive extratropical cyclogenesis event that occurred on 24–25 January 2000. Consistent with past predictability studies of this event, it is demonstrated that the characteristics and structure of the error growth are determined by the underlying balanced dynamics and the attendant moist convection. The initially uncorrelated errors can grow from small-scale, largely unbalanced perturbations to large-scale, quasi-balanced structured disturbances within 12–24 h. Maximum error growth occurred in the vicinity of upper-level and surface zones with the strongest potential vorticity (PV) gradient over the area of active moist convection. The structure of mesoscale error covariance estimated from these short-term ensemble forecasts is subsequently flow dependent and highly anisotropic, which is also ultimately determined by the underlying governing dynamics and associated error growth. Significant spatial and cross covariance (correlation) exists between different state variables with a horizontal distance as large as 1000 km and across all vertical layers. Qualitatively similar error covariance structure is estimated from different ensemble forecasts initialized with different perturbations.


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