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Evaluation of a mesoscale coupled ocean-atmosphere configuration for tropical cyclone forecasting in the South West Indian Ocean basin
  • Laetitia Corale
Laetitia Corale

Corresponding Author:laetitia.corale@meteo.fr

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The performance in term of tropical cyclone track and intensity prediction of the new coupled ocean-atmosphere system based on the operational atmospheric model AROME-Indian Ocean and the ocean model NEMO is assessed against that of the current operational configuration in the case of seven recent tropical cyclones. Five different configurations of the forecast system are evaluated: two with the coupled system, two with an ocean mixed layer parameterization and one with a constant sea surface temperature. For each ocean-atmosphere coupling option, one is initialized directly with the MERCATOR-Ocean PSY4 product as in the current operational configuration and the other with the ocean state that is cycled in the AROME-NEMO coupled suite since a few days before the cyclone intensification. The results show that the coupling with NEMO improves the intensity of cyclones in AROME-IO, especially when they encounter a slow propagation phase. For short-term forecasts (less than 36 hours), the presence of a cooling in the initial state that has been triggered by the AROME high-resolution cyclonic winds in a previous coupled forecast already improves the tropical cyclone intensity for all coupled or uncoupled configurations. However, the simplification of the ocean-atmosphere interactions in the configurations using the ocean mixed layer parameterization is not the only reason for the overestimation of the intensity of already well-developed TC in AROME-IO. The impact of other model components, such as the air-sea flux parameterization and the cloud microphysics scheme will need to be further investigated.