Analysis and Prediction of a Squall Line Observed during IHOP Using Multiple WSR-88D Observations

Juanzhen Sun; Ying Zhang
July 2008
Monthly Weather Review;Jul2008, Vol. 136 Issue 7, p2364
Academic Journal
This paper presents a case study on the assimilation of observations from multiple Doppler radars of the Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) network. A squall-line case documented during the International H2O Project (IHOP_2002) is used for the study. Radar radial velocity and reflectivity observations from four NEXRADs are assimilated into a convection-permitting model using a four-dimensional variational data assimilation (4DVAR) scheme. A mesoscale analysis using a supplementary sounding, velocity–azimuth display (VAD) profiles, and surface observations from Meteorological Aerodrome Reports (METAR) are produced and used to provide a background and boundary conditions for the 4DVAR radar data assimilation. Impact of the radar data assimilation is assessed by verifying the skill of the subsequent very short-term (5 h) forecasts. Assimilation and forecasting experiments are conducted to examine the impact of radar data assimilation on the subsequent precipitation forecasts. It is found that the 4DVAR radar data assimilation significantly reduces the model spinup required in the experiments without radar data assimilation, resulting in significantly improved 5-h forecasts. Additional experiments are conducted to study the sensitivity of the precipitation forecasts with respect to 4DVAR cycling configurations. Results from these experiments suggest that the forecasts with three 4DVAR cycles are improved over those with cold start, but the cycling impact seems to diminish with more cycles. The impact of observations from each of the individual radars is also examined by conducting a set of experiments in which data from each radar are alternately excluded. It is found that the accurate analysis of the environmental wind surrounding the convective cells is important in successfully predicting the squall line.


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