Can Pre-Storm Errors in the Low-Level Inflow Help Predict Spatial Displacement Errors in MCS Initiation?
The Great Plains low-level jet (LLJ) is a contributing factor to the initiation and evolution of nocturnal Mesoscale Convective Systems (MCSs) in the central United States by supplying moisture, warm air advection, and a source of convergence. Thus, the ability of models to correctly depict thermodynamics in the LLJ likely influences how accurately they forecast MCSs. In this study, the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model was used to examine the relationship between spatial
... spatial displacement errors for initiating simulated MCSs, and errors in forecast thermodynamic variables up to three hours before downstream MCS initiation in 18 cases. Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) analyses in 3 layers below 1500 m above ground level were used to represent observations. Correlations between simulated MCS initiation spatial displacements and errors in the magnitude of forecast thermodynamic variables were examined in regions near and upstream of both observed and simulated MCSs, and were found to vary depending on the synoptic environment. In strongly-forced cases, large negative moisture errors resulted in simulated MCSs initiating further downstream with respect to the low-level flow from those observed. For weakly-forced cases, correlations were weaker, with a tendency for smaller negative moisture errors to be associated with larger displacement errors to the right of the inflow direction for initiating MCSs.