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The THORPEX Observation Impact Intercomparison Experiment

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  • 1 Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • 2 Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, California
  • 3 Environment Canada, Dorval, Québec, Canada
  • 4 Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
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Abstract

An experiment is being conducted to directly compare the impact of all assimilated observations on short-range forecast errors in different forecast systems using an adjoint-based technique. The technique allows detailed comparison of observation impacts in terms of data type, location, satellite sounding channel, or other relevant attributes. This paper describes results for a “baseline” set of observations assimilated by three forecast systems for the month of January 2007. Despite differences in the assimilation algorithms and forecast models, the impacts of the major observation types are similar in each forecast system in a global sense. However, regional details and other aspects of the results can differ substantially. Large forecast error reductions are provided by satellite radiances, geostationary satellite winds, radiosondes, and commercial aircraft. Other observation types provide smaller impacts individually, but their combined impact is significant. Only a small majority of the total number of observations assimilated actually improves the forecast, and most of the improvement comes from a large number of observations that have relatively small individual impacts. Accounting for this behavior may be especially important when considering strategies for deploying adaptive (or “targeted”) components of the observing system.

Corresponding author address: Ronald Gelaro, Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771. Email: ron.gelaro@nasa.gov

This article included in Third THORPEX International Science Symposium.

Abstract

An experiment is being conducted to directly compare the impact of all assimilated observations on short-range forecast errors in different forecast systems using an adjoint-based technique. The technique allows detailed comparison of observation impacts in terms of data type, location, satellite sounding channel, or other relevant attributes. This paper describes results for a “baseline” set of observations assimilated by three forecast systems for the month of January 2007. Despite differences in the assimilation algorithms and forecast models, the impacts of the major observation types are similar in each forecast system in a global sense. However, regional details and other aspects of the results can differ substantially. Large forecast error reductions are provided by satellite radiances, geostationary satellite winds, radiosondes, and commercial aircraft. Other observation types provide smaller impacts individually, but their combined impact is significant. Only a small majority of the total number of observations assimilated actually improves the forecast, and most of the improvement comes from a large number of observations that have relatively small individual impacts. Accounting for this behavior may be especially important when considering strategies for deploying adaptive (or “targeted”) components of the observing system.

Corresponding author address: Ronald Gelaro, Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771. Email: ron.gelaro@nasa.gov

This article included in Third THORPEX International Science Symposium.

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