Analysis of the Effects of SST and Model Resolutions on the Identification of the 1993 Superstorm Using an Ocean-Atmosphere Coupled Regional System

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Duygu Aktas, Panagiotis Velissariou, Eric Chassignet and Mark A Bourassa, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, United States
The non-tropical storm, the 12-14 March 1993 Superstorm, which called the Storm of the Century had a wide reaching effect on the Northern Gulf of Mexico region and the East Coast of the United States. Previous studies show that the initial development of the storm could not be simulated accurately enough to represent the intensity and the evolution of the storm over the Gulf of Mexico region.

The aim of this study is to identify the effects of the air-sea fluxes, the sea surface temperature (SST) and the model resolution on determining the intensity and the track of the storm more accurately. To this end, the outputs from two-way coupled model runs were examined to analyze the storm characteristics. Model configurations have been set within a coupled system framework that includes the atmospheric model Weather Research & Forecasting Model (WRF) and the ocean model Regional Ocean Model (ROMS). Three WRF domains assigned 15 km, 5 km and ~1.6 km resolutions, respectively and an 8 km resolution ROMS domain were used in the coupled system. The initial and boundary conditions for WRF were extracted from the NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) products and the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) generated SSTs while, the conditions for ROMS were extracted from HYCOM. Comparisons were performed against NOAA buoys and GridSAT brightness temperatures. Minimum mean sea level pressure (MSLP), maximum wind speed and storm locations were examined. Time series for MSLP and wind speed were used to illustrate how air-sea interaction and resolution changes storm intensity along the track. The results showing the RMS differences on the storm location and intensity of the storm are also presented.