This study investigates the effect of the choice of convective parameterization (CP) scheme on the simulated tracks of three intense tropical cyclones (TCs), using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. We focus on diagnosing the competing influences of large-scale steering flow, beta drift and convectively induced changes in track, as represented by four different CP schemes (Kain–Fritsch (KF), Betts–Miller–Janjic (BMJ), Grell-3D (G-3), and the Tiedtke (TD) scheme). The sensitivity of the results to initial conditions, model domain size and shallow convection is also tested. We employ a diagnostic technique by Chan et al. (J Atmos Sci 59:1317–1336, 2002) that separates the influence of the large-scale steering flow, beta drift and the modifications of the steering flow by the storm-scale convection. The combined effect of the steering flow and the beta drift causes TCs typically to move in the direction of the wavenumber-1 (WN-1) cyclonic potential vorticity tendency (PVT). In instances of asymmetrical TCs, the simulated TC motion does not necessarily match the motion expected from the WN-1 PVT due to changes in the convective pattern. In the present study, we test this concept in the WRF simulations and investigate whether if the diagnosed motion from the WN-1 PVT and the TC motion do not match, this can be related to the emerging evolution of changes in convective structure. Several systematic results are found across the three cyclone cases. The sensitivity of TC track to initial conditions (the initialisation time and model domain size) is less than the sensitivity of TC track to changing the CP scheme. The simulated track is not overly sensitive to shallow convection in the KF, BMJ, and TD schemes, compared to the track difference between CP schemes. The G3 scheme, however, is highly sensitive to shallow convection being used. Furthermore, while agreement between the simulated TC track direction and the WN-1 diagnostic is usually good, there are important periods of differences that are often associated with model-generated convective asymmetries.
Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 11, 2016
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