Evaluation of COAMPS performance forecasting along coast wind events during a frontal passage
James, Carl S.
Nuss, Wendell A.
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Performance of high resolution mesoscale models has been in a continuous state of refinement since their inception. Mesoscale models have become quite skillful in forecasting synoptic scale events such as mid-latitude cyclones. However, atmospheric forcing becomes a much more complicated process when faced with the challenge of forecasting near topography along the coastline. Phenomena such as gap flows, blocked flow winds and low level stratification become important to predictability at these scales. The problem is further complicated by the dynamics of a frontal passage event. The skill of mesoscale models in predicting these winds is not as well developed. This study examines several forecasts by the Coupled Ocean Atmospheric Mesoscale Prediction System (COAMPS) during frontal passage events for the Winter of 2003-2004. An attempt is made to characterize the predictability of the wind speed and direction both before and after frontal passage along the California coast. Synoptic forcing during this time is strong due to the effects of the mid-latitude cyclones propagate across the Pacific. The study's results indicate that the wind field predictability is subject to several consistent errors associated with the passage of fronts over topography. These errors arise due to difficulty in the model capturing weak thermal advection events and topographic wind funneling. The deficiencies in model representation of topography contributes to these errors.
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