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Multisensor Comparison and Numerical Modeling of Atmospheric Water Fields: A VOLTAIRE Case Study over Cyprus

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  • 1 Agency for Environmental Protection and Technical Services, Rome, and Department of Mathematics, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy
  • | 2 EUMETSAT, Darmstadt, Germany
  • | 3 Department of Physics, University of Camerino, Camerino, Italy
  • | 4 Agency for Environmental Protection and Technical Services, Rome, Italy
  • | 5 Department of Electronics, Politecnico di Torino, Turin, Italy
  • | 6 Meteorological Service, Nicosia, Cyprus
  • | 7 Department of Mathematics and Informatics, University of Camerino, Camerino, Italy
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Abstract

This paper presents a study performed within the framework of the European Union’s (EU) VOLTAIRE project (Fifth Framework Programme). Among other tasks, the project aimed at the integration of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) data with ground-based observations and at the comparison between water fields (precipitation and total column water vapor) as estimated by multisensor observations and predicted by NWP models. In particular, the VOLTAIRE project had as one of its main objectives the goal of assessing the application of satellite-borne instrument measures to model verification. The island of Cyprus was chosen as the main “test bed,” because it is one of the few European territories covered by the passage of the TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR) and it has a dense rain gauge network and an operational weather radar. TRMM PR provides, until now, the most reliable space-borne spatial high-resolution precipitation measurements.

Attention is focused on the attempt to define a methodology, using state-of-the-art diagnostic methods, for a comprehensive evaluation of water fields as forecast by a limited area model (LAM). An event that occurred on 5 March 2003, associated with a slow cyclone moving eastward over the Mediterranean Sea, is presented as a case study.

The atmospheric water fields were forecast over the eastern Mediterranean Sea using the Bologna Limited Area Model (BOLAM). Data from the Cyprus ground-based radar, the Cyprus rain gauge network, the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I), and the TRMM PR were used in the comparison. Ground-based radar and rain gauge data were merged together in order to obtain a better representation of the rainfall event over the island. TRMM PR measurements were employed to range-adjust the ground-based radar data using a linear regression algorithm.

The observed total column water vapor has been employed to assess the forecast quality of large-scale atmospheric patterns; such an assessment has been performed by means of the Hoffman diagnostic method applied to the entire total column water vapor field. Subsequently, in order to quantify the spatial forecast error at the finer BOLAM scale (0.09°), the object-oriented contiguous rain area (CRA) analysis was chosen as a comparison method for precipitation. An assessment of the main difficulties in employing CRA in an operational framework, especially over such a small verification domain, is also discussed in the paper.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Stefano Mariani, Agency for Environmental Protection and Technical Services (APAT), Via Curtatone 3, 00185 Rome, Italy. Email: stefano.mariani@apat.it

Abstract

This paper presents a study performed within the framework of the European Union’s (EU) VOLTAIRE project (Fifth Framework Programme). Among other tasks, the project aimed at the integration of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) data with ground-based observations and at the comparison between water fields (precipitation and total column water vapor) as estimated by multisensor observations and predicted by NWP models. In particular, the VOLTAIRE project had as one of its main objectives the goal of assessing the application of satellite-borne instrument measures to model verification. The island of Cyprus was chosen as the main “test bed,” because it is one of the few European territories covered by the passage of the TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR) and it has a dense rain gauge network and an operational weather radar. TRMM PR provides, until now, the most reliable space-borne spatial high-resolution precipitation measurements.

Attention is focused on the attempt to define a methodology, using state-of-the-art diagnostic methods, for a comprehensive evaluation of water fields as forecast by a limited area model (LAM). An event that occurred on 5 March 2003, associated with a slow cyclone moving eastward over the Mediterranean Sea, is presented as a case study.

The atmospheric water fields were forecast over the eastern Mediterranean Sea using the Bologna Limited Area Model (BOLAM). Data from the Cyprus ground-based radar, the Cyprus rain gauge network, the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I), and the TRMM PR were used in the comparison. Ground-based radar and rain gauge data were merged together in order to obtain a better representation of the rainfall event over the island. TRMM PR measurements were employed to range-adjust the ground-based radar data using a linear regression algorithm.

The observed total column water vapor has been employed to assess the forecast quality of large-scale atmospheric patterns; such an assessment has been performed by means of the Hoffman diagnostic method applied to the entire total column water vapor field. Subsequently, in order to quantify the spatial forecast error at the finer BOLAM scale (0.09°), the object-oriented contiguous rain area (CRA) analysis was chosen as a comparison method for precipitation. An assessment of the main difficulties in employing CRA in an operational framework, especially over such a small verification domain, is also discussed in the paper.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Stefano Mariani, Agency for Environmental Protection and Technical Services (APAT), Via Curtatone 3, 00185 Rome, Italy. Email: stefano.mariani@apat.it

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