Impact of Assimilation on Heavy Rainfall Simulations Using WRF Model: Sensitivity of Assimilation Results to Background Error Statistics

by V. Rakesh and B. Kantharao

Data assimilation is considered as one of the effective tools for improving forecast skill of mesoscale models. However, for optimum utilization and effective assimilation of observations, many factors need to be taken into account while designing data assimilation methodology. One of the critical components that determines the amount and propagation observation information into the analysis, is model background error statistics (BES). The objective of this study is to quantify how BES in data assimilation impacts on simulation of heavy rainfall events over a southern state in India, Karnataka. Simulations of 40 heavy rainfall events were carried out using Weather Research and Forecasting Model with and without data assimilation. The assimilation experiments were conducted using global and regional BES while the experiment with no assimilation was used as the baseline for assessing the impact of data assimilation. The simulated rainfall is verified against high-resolution rain-gage observations over Karnataka. Statistical evaluation using several accuracy and skill measures shows that data assimilation has improved the heavy rainfall simulation. Our results showed that the experiment using regional BES outperformed the one which used global BES. Critical thermo-dynamic variables conducive for heavy rainfall like convective available potential energy simulated using regional BES is more realistic compared to global BES. It is pointed out that these results have important practical implications in design of forecast platforms while decision-making during extreme weather events.


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