MCS Rainfall Forecast Accuracy as a Function of Large-Scale Forcing

Isidora Jankov, William A. Gallus
2004 Weather and forecasting  
The large-scale forcing associated with 20 mesoscale convective system (MCS) events has been evaluated to determine how the magnitude of that forcing influences the rainfall forecasts made with a 10-km grid spacing version of the Eta Model. Different convective parameterizations and initialization modifications were used to simulate these Upper Midwest events. Cases were simulated using both the Betts-Miller-JanjiÄ ‡ (BMJ) and the Kain-Fritsch (KF) convective parameterizations, and three
more » ... s, and three different techniques were used to improve the initialization of mesoscale features important to later MCS evolution. These techniques included a cold pool initialization, vertical assimilation of surface mesoscale observations, and an adjustment to initialized relative humidity based on radar echo coverage. As an additional aspect in this work, a morphology analysis of the 20 MCSs was included. Results suggest that the model using both schemes performs better when net large-scale forcing is strong, which typically is the case when a cold front moves across the domain. When net forcing is weak, which is often the case in midsummer situations north of a warm or stationary front, both versions of the model perform poorly. Runs with the BMJ scheme seem to be more affected by the magnitude of surface frontogenesis than the KF runs. Runs with the KF scheme are more sensitive to the CAPE amount than the BMJ runs. A fairly well-defined split in morphology was observed, with squall lines having trading stratiform regions likely in scenarios associated with higher equitable threat scores (ETSs) and nonlinear convective clusters strongly dominating the more poorly forecast weakly forced events. ABSTRACT The large-scale forcing associated with 20 mesoscale convective system (MCS) events has been evaluated to determine how the magnitude of that forcing influences the rainfall forecasts made with a 10-km grid spacing version of the Eta Model. Different convective parameterizations and initialization modifications were used to simulate these Upper Midwest events. Cases were simulated using both the Betts-Miller-Janjić (BMJ) and the Kain-Fritsch (KF) convective parameterizations, and three different techniques were used to improve the initialization of mesoscale features important to later MCS evolution. These techniques included a cold pool initialization, vertical assimilation of surface mesoscale observations, and an adjustment to initialized relative humidity based on radar echo coverage. As an additional aspect in this work, a morphology analysis of the 20 MCSs was included. Results suggest that the model using both schemes performs better when net large-scale forcing is strong, which typically is the case when a cold front moves across the domain. When net forcing is weak, which is often the case in midsummer situations north of a warm or stationary front, both versions of the model perform poorly. Runs with the BMJ scheme seem to be more affected by the magnitude of surface frontogenesis than the KF runs. Runs with the KF scheme are more sensitive to the CAPE amount than the BMJ runs. A fairly well-defined split in morphology was observed, with squall lines having trailing stratiform regions likely in scenarios associated with higher equitable threat scores (ETSs) and nonlinear convective clusters strongly dominating the more poorly forecast weakly forced events.
doi:10.1175/1520-0434(2004)019<0428:mrfaaa>2.0.co;2 fatcat:ojpwo72nmja4pnkrrdh5qbn55q