Toward convective-scale prediction within the Next Generation Global Prediction System

Publication Year


Journal Article

The variable-resolution version of a Finite-Volume Cubed-Sphere Dynamical Core (FV3)-based global model improves the prediction of convective-scale features while maintaining skillful global forecasts. The Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) has developed a new variable-resolution global model with the ability to represent convective-scale features that serves as a prototype of the Next Generation Global Prediction System (NGGPS). The goal of this prediction system is to maintain the skill in large-scale features while simultaneously improving the prediction skill of convectively-driven mesoscale phenomena. This paper demonstrates the new capability of this model in convective-scale prediction relative to the current operational Global Forecast System (GFS). This model uses the stretched-grid functionality of the Finite-Volume Cubed-Sphere Dynamical Core (FV3) to refine the global 13-km uniform-resolution model down to 4-km convection-permitting resolution over the Contiguous United States (CONUS), and implements the GFDL single-moment six-category cloud microphysics to improve the representation of moist processes. Statistics gathered from two years of simulations by the GFS and select configurations of the FV3-based model are carefully examined. The variable-resolution FV3-based model is shown to possess global forecast skill comparable with that of the operational GFS while quantitatively improving skill and better representing the diurnal cycle within the high-resolution area compared to the uniform mesh simulations. Forecasts of the occurrence of extreme precipitation rates over the Southern Great Plains are also shown to improve with the variable-resolution model. Case studies are provided of a squall line and a hurricane to demonstrate the effectiveness of the variable-resolution model to simulate convective-scale phenomena.

Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Date Published
July 2019
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