Radar data assimilation impact over nowcasting a mesoscale convective system in Catalonia using the WRF model

DOI: 10.3369/tethys.2018.15.15

Tethys no. 15 pp.: 3 - 17


This study uses the Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF) and the three-dimensional variational data assimilation system (WRF 3DVAR), in cold and warm starts, with the aim of finding out an appropriate nowcasting method that would have improved the forecast of precipitation maxima in the mesoscale convective system that occurred in Catalonia (NE Spain) on March 21, 2012 at 20 UTC. We assimilated radar data using different configurations, qualitatively verifying the increase of rainwater produced by the assimilation of reflectivity. While in cold starts the best result was obtained with a length scale of 0.75, in warm starts it was necessary to use a length scale of 0.25. We got better results in all cases when radar data assimilation was used, and although one of the cold starts achieved the best result and correctly located precipitation maxima, the forecast amount was still lower than the observations.

Key words: WRF, 3DVAR, radar, precipitation

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Partially funded through grants CGL2007-29820-E/CLI, CGL2008-02804-E/, CGL2009-07417-E and CGL2011-14046-E of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation