Optimization of Gravity Wave Source Parameters for Improved Seasonal Prediction of the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation
Journal Article - Open Access
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC WASHINGTON United States
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A methodology is presented for objectively optimizing nonorographic gravity wave source parameters to minimize forecast error for target regions and forecast lead times. In this study, we employ a high-altitude version of the Navy Global Environmental Model NAVGEM-HA to ascertain the forcing needed to minimize hindcast errors in the equatorial lower stratospheric zonal-mean zonal winds in order to improve forecasts of the quasi-biennial oscillation QBO over seasonal time scales. Because subgrid-scale wave effects play a large role in driving the QBO, this method leverages the nonorographic gravity wave drag GWD parameterization scheme to provide the necessary forcing. To better constrain the GWD source parameters, we utilize ensembles of NAVGEM-HA hindcasts over the 2014-16 period with perturbed source parameters and develop a cost function to minimize errors in the equatorial lower stratosphere compared to analysis. Thus, we may determine the set of GWD source parameters that yields a forecast state that most closely agrees with observed QBO winds over each optimization time interval. Results show that the source momentum flux and phase speed spectrum width are the most important parameters. The seasonal evolution of optimal parameter value, specifically a robust semiannual periodicity in the source strength, is also revealed. Changes in optimal source parameters with increasing forecast lead time are seen, as the GWD parameterization takes on a more active role as QBO driver at longer forecast lengths. Implementation of a semiannually varying source function at the equator provides RMS error improvement in QBO winds over the default constant value.