Case Study of Fog Predictability for an Event with Cold-front Synoptic Pattern


Title: Case Study of Fog Predictability for an Event with Cold-front Synoptic Pattern.

Journal: Journal of Ocean University of China (Oceanic and Coastal Sea Research), 18 (2): 271-281.

Authors: HU H. -Q., F. Huang*, S. -Q. Zhang, C. -Q. Ruan, S. -H. Gao, and P. -Y. Li

Abstract: Fog has recently become a frequent high-impact weather phenomenon along the coastal regions of North China. Accurate fog forecasting remains challenging due to limited understanding of the predictability and mechanism of fog formation associated with synoptic-scale circulation. One frequent synoptic pattern of fog formation in this area is associated with cold front passage (cold-front synoptic pattern, CFSP). This paper explored the predictability of a typical CFSP fog event from the perspective of analyzing key characteristics of synoptic-scale circulation determining fog forecasting performance and the possible mechanism. The event was ensemble forecasted with the Weather Research and Forecasting model. Two groups of ensemble members with good and bad forecasting performance were selected and composited. Results showed that the predictability of this case was largely determined by the simulated strengths of the cold-front circulation (i.e., trough and ridge and the associated surface high). The bad-performing members tended to have a weaker ridge behind a stronger trough, and associated higher pressure over land and a weaker surface high over the sea, leading to an adverse impact on strength and direction of steering flows that inhibit warm moist advection and enhance cold dry advection transported to the focus region. Associated with this cold dry advection, adverse synoptic conditions of stratification and moisture for fog formation were produced, consequently causing failure of fog forecasting in the focus region. This study highlights the importance of accurate synoptic-scale information for improved CFSP fog forecasting, and enhances understanding of fog predictability from perspective of synoptic-scale circulation.