Assessment of simulations of a polar low with the Canadian Regional Climate Model

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: This is version 2 of this Preprint.

Add a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.


There are no comments or no comments have been made public for this article.


Download Preprint


Marta Moreno Ibáñez, René Laprise, Philippe Gachon


Polar lows (PLs), which are intense maritime polar mesoscale cyclones, are associated with severe weather conditions. Due to their small size and rapid development, PL forecasting remains a challenge. Convection-permitting models are adequate to forecast PLs since, compared to coarser models, they provide a better representation of convection as well as surface and near-surface processes. A PL that formed over the Norwegian Sea on 25 March 2019 was simulated using the convection-permitting Canadian Regional Climate Model version 6 (CRCM6/GEM4, using a grid mesh of 2.5 km) driven by the reanalysis ERA5. The objectives of this study were to quantify the impact of the initial conditions on the simulation of the PL, and to assess the skill of the CRCM6/GEM4 at reproducing the PL. First, the track, size and intensity of the PL captured by the simulations and ERA5 have been compared to those of the observed PL. Second, the simulations and ERA5 have been verified against observations from surface stations and drifting buoys affected by the PL. In particular, the following statistics were computed: the mean error, the root mean square error, and the Spearman correlation coefficient. The results show that the skill of the CRCM6/GEM4 at reproducing the PL strongly depends on the initial conditions. Although in all simulations the synoptic environment is favourable for PL development, with a strong low-level temperature gradient and an upper-level through, only the low-level atmospheric fields of three of the simulations lead to PL development through baroclinic instability. The two simulations that best captured the PL represent a PL deeper than the observed one, and they show higher temperature mean bias compared to the other simulations, indicating that the ocean surface fluxes may be too strong. In general, ERA5 has more skill than the simulations at reproducing the observed PL, but the CRCM6/GEM4 simulation with initialisation time closer to the genesis time of the PL reproduces quite well small scale features as low-level baroclinic instability during the PL development phase.



Atmospheric Sciences, Meteorology


polar low, polar mesoscale cyclone, convection-permitting model, Canadian Regional Climate Model, ERA5, Forecast verification


Published: 2023-04-14 11:40

Last Updated: 2023-10-06 16:51

Older Versions

CC-BY Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International