Development of a forecast-oriented kilometre-resolution ocean-atmosphere coupled system for western Europe and sensitivity study for a severe weather situation

Pianezze, Joris ; Beuvier, Jonathan ; Lebeaupin Brossier, Cindy ; Samson, Guillaume ; Faure, Ghislain ; Garric, Gilles

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<p align=justify>To improve high-resolution numerical environmental prediction, it is essential to represent ocean-atmosphere interactions properly, which is not the case in current operational regional forecasting systems used in western Europe. The objective of this paper is to present a new forecast-oriented coupled ocean-atmosphere system. This system uses the state-of-the-art numerical models AROME (cy43t2) and NEMO (v3.6) with a horizontal resolution of 2.5 km. The OASIS coupler (OASIS3MCT-4.0), implemented in the SurfEX surface scheme and in NEMO, is used to perform the communications between models. A sensitivity study of this system is carried out using 7 d simulations from 12 to 19 October 2018, characterized by extreme weather events (storms and heavy precipitation) in the area of interest. Comparisons with in situ and L3 satellite observations show that the fully coupled simulation reproduces the spatial and temporal evolution of the sea surface temperature and 10 m wind speed quantitatively well. Sensitivity analysis of ocean-atmosphere coupling shows that the use of an interactive and high-resolution sea surface temperature (SST), in contrast to actual numerical weather prediction (NWP) where SST is constant, modifies the atmospheric circulation and the location of heavy precipitation. Simulated oceanic fields show a large sensitivity to coupling when compared to the operational ocean forecast. The comparison to two distinct forced ocean simulations highlights that this sensitivity is mainly controlled by the change in the atmospheric model used to drive NEMO (AROME vs. IFS operational forecast), and less by the interactive air-sea exchanges. In particular, the oceanic boundary layer depths can vary by more than 40 % locally, between the two ocean-only experiments. This impact is amplified by the interactive coupling and is attributed to positive feedback between sea surface cooling and evaporation.</p>
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