The impact of supplemental dropwindsonde data on the structure and intensity of Tropical Storm Karen (2013) in the NCEP Global Forecast System

Michael J. Brennan, Daryl T. Kleist, Kate Howard, Sharanya J. Majumdar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The impact of assimilating synoptic surveillance dropwindsonde data on the analysis and forecast of the structure and intensity of Tropical Storm Karen (2013) was examined. Data-denial experiments were conducted using the NCEP hybrid 3D ensemble-variational GSI and forecasts were made using the NCEP GFS model. The assimilation of dropwindsonde data resulted in a slightly more tilted tropical cyclone vortex, stronger vertical wind shear, and more upper-tropospheric dry air west of Karen in the initial conditions. These differences grew with time in the GFS forecasts, and resulted in a weaker and more sheared vortex by 24 h in the forecast that included the dropwindsonde data. After 24 h, the cyclone reintensified in the experiment where dropwindsonde data were excluded, likely because of moist processes in a favorable region for synoptic-scale ascent ahead of a baroclinic trough. In contrast, the forecast including the dropwindsonde data kept Karen weak and also did a better job forecasting the structure and track of Karen. These results suggest that differences in the analysis and short-term evolution of Karen and the environment due to the dropwindsonde data played a role in the longer-term structure and intensity of the cyclone, including the distribution and magnitude of associated diabatic heating. These results strongly suggest that a systematic study be undertaken to examine the impact of these data on tropical cyclone structure and intensity, since previous work has focused largely on the impact on track.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-691
Number of pages9
JournalWeather and Forecasting
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Data assimilation
  • Dropsondes
  • Model initialization
  • Numerical weather prediction/forecasting
  • Tropical cyclones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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