Impact of Physics Representations in the HWRFX on Simulated Hurricane Structure and Pressure-Wind Relationships

Bao, J.-W.; Gopalakrishnan, S. G.; Michelson, S. A.; Marks, F. D.; Montgomery, M. T.
October 2012
Monthly Weather Review;Oct2012, Vol. 140 Issue 10, p3278
Academic Journal
A series of idealized experiments with the NOAA Experimental Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting Model (HWRFX) are performed to examine the sensitivity of idealized tropical cyclone (TC) intensification to various parameterization schemes of the boundary layer (BL), subgrid convection, cloud microphysics, and radiation. Results from all the experiments are compared in terms of the maximum surface 10-m wind (VMAX) and minimum sea level pressure (PMIN)---operational metrics of TC intensity--as well as the azimuthally averaged temporal and spatial structure of the tangential wind and its material acceleration. The conventional metrics of TC intensity (VMAX and PMIN) are found to be insufficient to reveal the sensitivity of the simulated TC to variations in model physics. Comparisons of the sensitivity runs indicate that (I) different boundary layer physics parameterization schemes for vertical subgrid turbulence mixing lead to differences not only in the intensity evolution in terms of VMAX and PMIN, but also in the structural characteristics of the simulated tropical cyclone; (ii) the surface drag coefficient is a key parameter that controls the VMAX-PMIN relationship near the surface; and (iii) different microphysics and subgrid convection parameterization schemes, because of their different realizations of diabatic heating distribution, lead to significant variations in the vortex structure. The quantitative aspects of these results indicate that the current uncertainties in the BL mixing, surface drag, and microphysics parameterization schemes have comparable impacts on the intensity and structure of simulated TCs. The results also indicate that there is a need to include structural parameters in the HWRFX evaluation.


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