Rainfall Simulations of Typhoon Morakot with Controlled Translation Speed Based on EnKF Data Assimilation

  • Author(s): Tzu-Hsiung Yen, Chun-Chieh Wu, and Guo-Yuan Lien
  • DOI: 10.3319/TAO.2011.07.05.01(TM)
  • Keywords: Rainfall, Typhoon Morakot, Translation speed, EnKF data assimilation, Ensemble simulations



Typhoon Morakot produced record-breaking accumulated rainfall over southern Taiwan in August 2009. The combination of several factors resulted in this extreme weather event: the steep terrain in Taiwan, the prevailing south-westerly flow in the monsoon trough, Typhoon Goni over the northern South China Sea, and the slow translation speed of Morakot itself over Taiwan. In this study, the influence of the translation speed is particularly emphasized. Based on the EnKF data assimilation, an innovative method is applied to perform ensemble simulations with several designated translation speeds of Morakot using the WRF model. Thus the influence of the translation speed on the amount of accumulated rainfall over Taiwan can be quantitatively evaluated. In the control simulation with observed translation speed, the maximum amount and geographic pattern of accumulated rainfall during the landfall period of Morakot are generally consistent with the observations, though the detailed overall distributions of accumulated rainfall is mostly underestimated, resulting in the low bias of the frequency distribution of the accumulated rainfall. In a simulation with nearly-doubled translation speed of Morakot, the maximum accumulated rainfall is decreased by 33% than that in the control simulation, while the rainfall distribution over Taiwan remains similar. In addition, the 28 ensemble members can further provide additional information in terms of their spread and other statistics. The results from ensemble members reveal the usefulness of ensemble simulations for the quantitative precipitation forecast.

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