Impact of ASCAT Soil Moisture Assimilation on Regional Precipitation Forecasts: A Case Study for Austria

Stefan Schneider Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, Vienna, Austria

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Yong Wang Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, Vienna, Austria

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Wolfgang Wagner Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria

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Jean-Francois Mahfouf Météo-France/CNRS, CNRM/GAME, Toulouse, France

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Abstract

In this study, remotely sensed soil moisture data from the Advanced Scatterometer (ASCAT) on board the Meteorological Operational (MetOp) series of satellites are assimilated in the regional forecasting model, Aire Limitée Adaptation Dynamique Développement International (ALADIN-Austria), using a simplified extended Kalman filter. A pointwise bias correction method is applied to the ASCAT data as well as quality flags prepared by the data provider. The ASCAT assimilation case study is performed over central Europe during a 1-month period in July 2009. Forecasts of those assimilation experiments are compared to the control run provided by the operational ALADIN version of the Austrian Met Service, Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik (ZAMG). Forecasts are furthermore verified versus in situ data. For a single-day case study the ability of the approach to improve precipitation forecast quality in the presence of high impact weather is demonstrated. Results show that 1) based on a one station in situ data evaluation, soil moisture analysis is improved, compared to the operational analysis, when ASCAT soil moisture data is assimilated; 2) pointwise bias correction of the satellite data is beneficial for forecast quality; 3) screen level parameter forecasts can be slightly improved as a result of this approach; and 4) convective precipitation forecast is improved over flatland for the investigation period while over mountainous regions the impact is neutral.

Corresponding author address: Stefan Schneider, Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, Hohe Warte 38, A-1190 Vienna, Austria. E-mail: stefan.schneider@zamg.ac.at

Abstract

In this study, remotely sensed soil moisture data from the Advanced Scatterometer (ASCAT) on board the Meteorological Operational (MetOp) series of satellites are assimilated in the regional forecasting model, Aire Limitée Adaptation Dynamique Développement International (ALADIN-Austria), using a simplified extended Kalman filter. A pointwise bias correction method is applied to the ASCAT data as well as quality flags prepared by the data provider. The ASCAT assimilation case study is performed over central Europe during a 1-month period in July 2009. Forecasts of those assimilation experiments are compared to the control run provided by the operational ALADIN version of the Austrian Met Service, Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik (ZAMG). Forecasts are furthermore verified versus in situ data. For a single-day case study the ability of the approach to improve precipitation forecast quality in the presence of high impact weather is demonstrated. Results show that 1) based on a one station in situ data evaluation, soil moisture analysis is improved, compared to the operational analysis, when ASCAT soil moisture data is assimilated; 2) pointwise bias correction of the satellite data is beneficial for forecast quality; 3) screen level parameter forecasts can be slightly improved as a result of this approach; and 4) convective precipitation forecast is improved over flatland for the investigation period while over mountainous regions the impact is neutral.

Corresponding author address: Stefan Schneider, Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, Hohe Warte 38, A-1190 Vienna, Austria. E-mail: stefan.schneider@zamg.ac.at
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