Better representation of the planetary boundary layer (PBL) in numerical models is one of the keys to improving forecasts of TC structure and intensity, including rapid intensification. To meet this goal, our recent work has used observations to improve the eddy-diffusivity mass flux with prognostic turbulent kinetic energy (EDMF-TKE) PBL scheme in the Hurricane Analysis and Forecast System (HAFS). This study builds on that work by comparing a modified version of EDMF-TKE (MEDMF-TKE) with the hybrid EDMF scheme based on a K-profile method (HEDMF-KP) in the 2020 HAFS-globalnest model. Verification statistics based on 101 cases in the 2020 season demonstrate that MEDMF-TKE improves track forecasts, with a reduction in a large right bias seen in HEDMF-KP forecasts. The comparison of intensity performance is mixed, but the magnitude of low bias at early forecast hours is reduced with the use of the MEDMF-TKE scheme, which produces a wider range of TC intensities. Wind radii forecasts, particularly the radius of maximum wind speed (RMW), are also improved with the MEDMF-TKE scheme. Composites of TC inner-core structure in and above the PBL highlight and explain differences between the two sets of forecasts, with MEDMF-TKE having a stronger and shallower inflow layer, stronger eyewall vertical velocity, and more moisture in the eyewall region. A case study of Hurricane Laura shows that MEDMF-TKE better represented the subtropical ridge and thus the motion of the TC. Finally, analysis of Hurricane Delta through a tangential wind budget highlights how and why MEDMF-TKE leads to faster spinup of the vortex and a better prediction of rapid intensification.


This preliminary version has been accepted for publication in Weather and Forecasting be fully cited, and has been assigned DOI 10.1175/WAF-D-21-0124.1. The final typeset copyedited article will replace the EOR at the above DOI when it is published.

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Hazelton, A., J.A. Zhang, and S.G. Gopalakrishnan. Comparison of the performance of the observation-based hybrid EDMF and EDMF-TKE PBL schemes in 2020 tropical cyclone forecasts from the Global-nested Hurricane Analysis and Forecast System. Weather and Forecasting, https://doi.org/10.1175/WAF-D-21-0124.1