NOGAPS-ALPHA Simulations of the 2002 Southern Hemisphere Stratospheric Major Warming

Allen, Douglas R.; Coy, Lawrence; Eckermann, Stephen D.; McCormack, John P.; Manney, Gloria L.; Hogan, Timothy F.; Young-Joon Kim
February 2006
Monthly Weather Review;Feb2006, Vol. 134 Issue 2, p498
Academic Journal
A high-altitude version of the Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS) spectral forecast model is used to simulate the unusual September 2002 Southern Hemisphere stratospheric major warming. Designated as NOGAPS-Advanced Level Physics and High Altitude (NOGAPS-ALPHA), this model extends from the surface to 0.005 hPa (∼85 km altitude) and includes modifications to multiple components of the operational NOGAPS system, including a new radiative heating scheme, middle-atmosphere gravity wave drag parameterizations, hybrid vertical coordinate, upper-level meteorological initialization, and radiatively active prognostic ozone with parameterized photochemistry. NOGAPS-ALPHA forecasts (hindcasts) out to 6 days capture the main features of the major warming, such as the zonal mean wind reversal, planetary-scale wave amplification, large upward Eliassen–Palm (EP) fluxes, and splitting of the polar vortex in the middle stratosphere. Forecasts beyond 6 days have reduced upward EP flux in the lower stratosphere, reduced amplitude of zonal wavenumbers 2 and 3, and a middle stratospheric vortex that does not split. Three-dimensional EP-flux diagnostics in the troposphere reveal that the longer forecasts underestimate upward-propagating planetary wave energy emanating from a significant blocking pattern over the South Atlantic that played a large role in forcing the major warming. Forecasts of less than 6 days are initialized with the blocking in place, and therefore are not required to predict the blocking onset. For a more thorough skill assessment, NOGAPS-ALPHA forecasts over 3 weeks during September–October 2002 are compared with operational NOGAPS 5-day forecasts made at the time. NOGAPS-ALPHA forecasts initialized with 2002 operational NOGAPS analyses show a modest improvement in skill over the NOGAPS operational forecasts. An additional, larger improvement is obtained when NOGAPS-ALPHA is initialized with reanalyzed 2002 fields produced with the currently operational (as of October 2003) Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Atmospheric Variational Data Assimilation System (NAVDAS). Thus the combination of higher model top, better physical parameterizations, and better initial conditions all yield improved forecasting skill over the NOGAPS forecasts issued operationally at the time.


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