Object-Based Verification of Precipitation Forecasts. Part II: Application to Convective Rain Systems

Davis, Christopher; Brown, Barbara; Bullock, Randy
July 2006
Monthly Weather Review;Jul2006, Vol. 134 Issue 7, p1785
Academic Journal
The authors develop and apply an algorithm to define coherent areas of precipitation, emphasizing mesoscale convection, and compare properties of these areas with observations obtained from NCEP stage-IV precipitation analyses (gauge and radar combined). In Part II, fully explicit 12–36-h forecasts of rainfall from the Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF) are evaluated. These forecasts are integrated on a 4-km mesh without a cumulus parameterization. Rain areas are defined similarly to Part I, but emphasize more intense, smaller areas. Furthermore, a time-matching algorithm is devised to group spatially and temporally coherent areas into rain systems that approximate mesoscale convective systems. In general, the WRF model produces too many rain areas with length scales of 80 km or greater. Rain systems typically last too long, and are forecast to occur 1–2 h later than observed. The intensity distribution among rain systems in the 4-km forecasts is generally too broad, especially in the late afternoon, in sharp contrast to the intensity distribution obtained on a coarser grid with parameterized convection in Part I. The model exhibits the largest positive size and intensity bias associated with systems over the Midwest and Mississippi Valley regions, but little size bias over the High Plains, Ohio Valley, and the southeast United States. For rain systems lasting 6 h or more, the critical success index for matching forecast and observed rain systems agrees closely with that obtained in a related study using manually determined rain systems.


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