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Sutton C. J., T. M. Hamill and T. T. Warner (November 2006): Will perturbing soil moisture imporve warm-season ensemble forecasts? A proof of concept. Mon. Weather Rev., 134 (11), 3174-3189. doi:10.1175/MWR3248.1

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Current generation short-range ensemble forecast members tend to be unduly similar to each other, especially for components such as surface temperature and precipitation. One possible cause of this is a lack of perturbations to the land surface state. In this experiment, a two-member ensemble of the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model (ARW) was run from two different soil moisture analyses. One-day forecasts were conducted for six warm-season cases over the central United States with moderate soil moistures, both with explicit convection at 5-km grid spacing and with parameterized convection at 20-km grid spacing. Since changing the convective parameterization has previously been demonstrated to cause significant differences between ensemble forecast members, 20-km simulations were also conducted that were initialized with the same soil moisture but that used two different convective parameterizations as a reference. At 5 km, the forecast differences due to changing the soil moisture were comparable to the differences in 20-km simulations with the same soil moisture but with a different convective parameterization. The differences of 20-km simulations from different soil moistures were occasionally large but typically smaller than the differences from changing the convective parameterization. Thus, perturbing the state of the land surface for this version of WRF/ARW was judged to be likely to increase the spread of warm-season operational short-range ensemble forecasts of precipitation and surface temperature when soil moistures are moderate in value, especially if the ensemble is comprised of high-resolution members with explicit convection.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: PSD Publications
Divisions: Physical Sciences Division
DOI: 10.1175/MWR3248.1