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Weather and Forecasting





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In recent years, a mixed-physics ensemble approach has been investigated as a method to better predict mesoscale convective system (MCS) rainfall. For both mixed-physics ensemble design and interpretation, knowledge of the general impact of various physical schemes and their interactions on warm season MCS rainfall forecasts would be useful. Adopting the newly emerging Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model for this purpose would further emphasize such benefits. To pursue this goal, a matrix of 18 WRF model configurations, created using different physical scheme combinations, was run with 12-km grid spacing for eight International H2O Project (IHOP) MCS cases. For each case, three different treatments of convection, three different microphysical schemes, and two different planetary boundary layer schemes were used. Sensitivity to physics changes was determined using the correspondence ratio and the squared correlation coefficient. The factor separation method was also used to quantify in detail the impacts of the variation of two different physical schemes and their interaction on the simulated rainfall. Skill score measures averaged over all eight cases for all 18 configurations indicated that no one configuration was obviously best at all times and thresholds. The greatest variability in forecasts was found to come from changes in the choice of convective scheme, although notable impacts also occurred from changes in the microphysics and planetary boundary layer (PBL) schemes. Specifically, changes in convective treatment notably impacted the forecast of system average rain rate, while forecasts of total domain rain volume were influenced by choices of microphysics and convective treatment. The impact of interactions (synergy) of different physical schemes, although occasionally of comparable magnitude to the impacts from changing one scheme alone (compared to a control run), varied greatly among cases and over time, and was typically not statistically significant.


This article is from Weather and Forecasting 20 (2005): 1048, doi: 10.1175/WAF888.1. Posted with permission.

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American Meteorological Society



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