SPoRT-WRF captures strong convection across OK/KS on 19 May

The 19 May SPoRT run of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model captured a band of strong convection that developed in advance of a dryline across Kansas and Oklahoma. The mode and orientation of the convection appeared quite similar to the observed radar reflectivity in the late afternoon and evening hours. On the multi-model comparison page as part of the 2011 Hazardous Weather Testbed’s Spring Experiment, the SPoRT-WRF model is compared to the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) WRF runs. For this particular day, the SPoRT-WRF best captured the intensity and timing of the convection over Oklahoma and parts of Kansas during the late afternoon and evening hours (see Figure below of reflectivity comparisons valid at 0000 UTC 20 May 2011). The SPoRT WRF model configuration is nearly identical to the NSSL configuration, but incorporates real-time MODIS vegetation fraction, high-resolution land surface initialization data from the NASA Land Information System, MODIS/AMSR-E SSTs, and also assimilates AIRS temperature and moisture profiles to improve initial conditions and subsequent forecast parameters.  Of course, this is only one case; SPoRT team members plan to continue examining the model comparisons throughout the duration of the Spring Experiment and beyond.

Twenty-four hour forecast reflectivity from the NSSL (upper-left), NCAR (upper-right), and SPoRT-WRF (lower-left), along with the verifying radar image (lower-right), valid at 0000 UTC 20 May 2011.

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