A Nowcasting Model for Tropical Cyclone Precipitation Regions Based on the TREC Motion Vector Retrieval with a Semi-Lagrangian Scheme for Doppler Weather Radar
Jingyin Tang and Corene Matyas
Article first published online: 21 May 2018 Atmosphere
ABSTRACT: Accurate observational data and reliable prediction models are both essential to improve the quality of precipitation forecasts. The spiraling trajectories of air parcels within a tropical cyclone (TC) coupled with the large sizes of these systems brings special challenges in making accurate short-term forecasts, or nowcasts. Doppler weather radars are ideal instruments to observe TCs when they move over land, and traditional nowcasts incorporate radar data. However, data from dozens of radars must be mosaicked together to observe the entire system. Traditional single-radar-based reflectivity tracking methods commonly employed in nowcasting are not suitable for TCs as they are not able to capture the circular motion of these systems. Thus, this paper focuses on improving short-term predictability of TC precipitation with Doppler weather radar observations based on: a multi-scale motion vector retrieval algorithm, an optimization technique and a semi-Lagrangian advection scheme. Motion fields of precipitation regions are obtained by a multi-level motion vector retrieval algorithm, then corrected and smoothed by the optimization technique using mass and smooth constraints. Predicted precipitation regions are then extrapolated using the semi-Lagrangian advection scheme. A case study of Hurricane Isabel (2003) shows that the combination of these methods may increase reliable rainfall prediction to about 5 h as the TC moves over land.
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