Improving Hurricane Boundary Layer Parameterization Scheme Based on Observations

Sundararaman Gopalakrishnan, Andrew Hazelton, Jun A. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Flight-level data and global positioning system dropwindsonde observations collected from more than 187 flights into 19 tropical cyclones were used to examine why different planetary boundary layer parameterization schemes applied to hurricane models produce diverse forecasts of structure and intensity change. Two popular, yet diverse, physics schemes, namely, the GFS K-Profile and a 1.5-order turbulence kinetic energy closure parameterization from NOAA's next-generation FV3-based Hurricane Analysis and Forecast System were used. It was found that uncertainty related to some key variables used in the parameterization of the eddy diffusivity, Km, led to diverse solutions. For a given grid resolution, both parameterization schemes converged to a similar forecast state provided those uncertainties could be identified and improved based on observations. This is important for providing a generalized framework for the development and evaluation of parameterization schemes in operational models that resemble reality. This study also indicates that the shape of the Km profile is equally important as its maximum value. The smaller the Km near the surface, the stronger the inflow in the boundary layer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020EA001422
JournalEarth and Space Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • PBL parameterization
  • eddy diffusivity
  • hurricane intensity
  • hurricane structure
  • tropical cyclones
  • turbulence kinetic energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Improving Hurricane Boundary Layer Parameterization Scheme Based on Observations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this