Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-2021-2
https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-2021-2

  18 Jan 2021

18 Jan 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal WCD.

The impact of GPS and high-resolution radiosonde nudging on the simulation of heavy precipitation during HyMeX IOP6

Alberto Caldas-Alvarez1, Samiro Khodayar1,2, and Peter Knippertz1 Alberto Caldas-Alvarez et al.
  • 1Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-TRO), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, P.O. Box 3640, 76021, Germany
  • 2Mediterranean Centre for Environmental Studies (CEAM), Valencia, 46980, Spain

Abstract. Heavy precipitation is one of the most devastating weather extremes in the western Mediterranean region. Our capacity to prevent negative impacts from such extreme events requires advancements in numerical weather prediction, data assimilation and new observation techniques. In this paper we investigate the impact of two state-of-the-art data sets with very high resolution, Global Positioning System-Zenith Total Delays (GPS-ZTD) with a 10 min temporal resolution and radiosondes with ~700 levels, on the representation of convective precipitation in nudging experiments. Specifically, we investigate whether the high temporal resolution, quality, and coverage of GPS-ZTDs can outweigh their lack of vertical information or if radiosonde profiles are more valuable despite their scarce coverage and low temporal resolution (24 h to 6 h). The study focuses on the Intensive Observation Period 6 (IOP6) of the Hydrological Cycle in the Mediterranean eXperiment (HyMeX; 24 September 2012). This event is selected due to its severity (100 mm/12 h), the availability of observations for nudging and validation, and the large observation impact found in preliminary sensitivity experiments. We systematically compare simulations performed with the COnsortium for Small scale MOdelling (COSMO) model assimilating GPS, high- and low vertical resolution radiosoundings in model resolutions of 7 km, 2.8 km and 500 m. The results show that the additional GPS and radiosonde observations cannot compensate errors in the model dynamics and physics. In this regard the reference COSMO runs have an atmospheric moisture wet bias prior to precipitation onset but a negative bias in rainfall, indicative of deficiencies in the numerics and physics, unable to convert the moisture excess into sufficient precipitation. Nudging GPS and high-resolution soundings corrects atmospheric humidity, but even further reduces total precipitation. This case study also demonstrates the potential impact of individual observations in highly unstable environments. We show that assimilating a low-resolution sounding from Nimes (southern France) while precipitation is taking place induces a 40 % increase in precipitation during the subsequent three hours. This precipitation increase is brought about by the moistening of the 700  hPa level (7.5 g kg−1) upstream of the main precipitating systems, reducing the entrainment of dry air above the boundary layer. The moist layer was missed by GPS observations and high-resolution soundings alike, pointing to the importance of profile information and timing. However, assimilating GPS was beneficial for simulating the temporal evolution of precipitation. Finally, regarding the scale dependency, no resolution is particularly sensitive to a specific observation type, however the 2.8 km run has overall better scores, possibly as this is the optimally tuned operational version of COSMO. In follow-up experiments the Icosahedral Nonhydrostatic Model (ICON) will be investigated for this case study to assert whether its numerical and physics updates, compared to its predecessor COSMO, are able to improve the quality of the simulations.

Alberto Caldas-Alvarez et al.

Status: open (until 01 Mar 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on wcd-2021-2', Dominik Jacques, 08 Feb 2021 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on wcd-2021-2', Anonymous Referee #2, 12 Feb 2021 reply

Alberto Caldas-Alvarez et al.

Alberto Caldas-Alvarez et al.

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