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Sensitivity of hurricane forecasts to cumulus parameterizations in the HWRF model


The Developmental Testbed Center used the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) system to test the sensitivity of tropical cyclone track and intensity forecasts to different convective schemes. A control configuration that employed the HWRF Simplified Arakawa Scheme (SAS) was compared with the Kain-Fritsch and Tiedtke schemes, as well as with a newer implementation of the SAS. A comprehensive test for Atlantic and Eastern North Pacific storms shows that the SAS scheme produces the best track forecasts. Even though the convective parameterization was absent in the inner 3‚ÄČkm nest, the intensity forecasts are sensitive to the choice of cumulus scheme on the outer grids. The impact of convective-scale heating on the environmental flow accumulates in time since the hurricane vortex is cycled in the HWRF model initialization. This study shows that, for a given forecast, the sensitivity to cumulus parameterization combines the influence of physics and initial conditions.

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