2022 journal article
A Comparative Study on the Performances of Spectral Nudging and Scale-Selective Data Assimilation Techniques for Hurricane Track and Intensity Simulations
It is a common practice to use a buffer zone to damp out spurious wave growth due to computational error along the lateral boundary of limited-area weather and climate models. Although it is an effective technique to maintain model stability, an unintended side effect of using such buffer zones is the distortion of the data passing through the buffer zone. Various techniques are introduced to enhance the communication between the limited-area model’s inner domain and the outer domain, which provides lateral boundary values for the inner domain. Among them, scale-selective data assimilation (SSDA) and the spectral nudging (SPNU) techniques share similar philosophy, i.e., directly injecting the large-scale components of the atmospheric circulation from the outer model domain into the interior grids of the inner model domain by-passing the lateral boundary and the buffer zone, but the two methods are taking different implementation approaches. SSDA utilizes a 3-dimensional variational data assimilation procedure to accomplish the data injection objective, whereas SPNU uses a nudging process. In the present study, the two approaches are evaluated comparatively for simulating hurricane track and intensity in a pair of cases: Jeanne (2004) and Irma (2017) using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. The results indicate that both techniques are effective in improving tropical cyclone intensity and track simulations by reducing the errors of the large-scale circulation in the inner model domain. The SSDA runs produced better simulations of temperature and humidity fields which are not directly nudged. The SSDA runs also produced more accurate storm intensities in both cases and more realistic structure in Hurricane Jeanne’s case than those produced by the SPNU runs. It should be noted, however, that extending these case study results to more general situations requires additional studies covering a large number of additional cases.