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Operational Implementation of COSMIC Observations into NCEP’s Global Data Assimilation System

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  • 1 Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation, Washington, D.C
  • | 2 National Centers for Environmental Prediction/Environmental Modeling Center, Washington, D.C
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Abstract

The next generation of NCEP’s Global Data Assimilation System became operational on 1 May 2007. This system incorporates the assimilation of global positioning system (GPS) radio occultation (RO) profiles from the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC) mission launched in April 2006. Roughly 1 yr after the launch of COSMIC, NCEP has begun operational use of this new dataset.

A preliminary assessment of this observation type was performed with an earlier version of NCEP’s analysis at a lower resolution. These experiments showed positive impact when GPS RO soundings from the Challenging Minisatellite Payload (CHAMP) mission were assimilated into the system in non–real time. In these earlier studies, two different forward operators for the GPS RO profiles were evaluated: one for refractivity and another one for bending angle.

In this paper, the data assimilation experiments with COSMIC observations that led NOAA/NCEP to assimilate COSMIC data into operations are described. The experiments were conducted with the current operational version of the code and at full operational resolution. Based on the results of the experiments analyzed here, profiles of refractivity were selected as the type of GPS RO observation to be assimilated. Further enhancement to the assimilation of bending angles is currently being evaluated at NCEP.

The results show a significant improvement of the anomaly correlation skill and a global reduction of the NCEP model bias and root-mean-square errors when COSMIC observations are assimilated into the system. The improvement is found for the temperature, geopotential heights, and moisture variables. Larger benefits are found in the Southern Hemisphere extratropics, although a significant positive impact is also found in the Northern Hemisphere extratropics and the tropics. Even if GPS RO observations cannot produce direct impact on the wind field through the adjoint of the forward operator, a slight benefit is found in the wind components.

Corresponding author address: Lidia Cucurull, Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation, 5200 Auth Rd., Suitland, MD 20746. Email: lidia.cucurull@noaa.gov

Abstract

The next generation of NCEP’s Global Data Assimilation System became operational on 1 May 2007. This system incorporates the assimilation of global positioning system (GPS) radio occultation (RO) profiles from the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC) mission launched in April 2006. Roughly 1 yr after the launch of COSMIC, NCEP has begun operational use of this new dataset.

A preliminary assessment of this observation type was performed with an earlier version of NCEP’s analysis at a lower resolution. These experiments showed positive impact when GPS RO soundings from the Challenging Minisatellite Payload (CHAMP) mission were assimilated into the system in non–real time. In these earlier studies, two different forward operators for the GPS RO profiles were evaluated: one for refractivity and another one for bending angle.

In this paper, the data assimilation experiments with COSMIC observations that led NOAA/NCEP to assimilate COSMIC data into operations are described. The experiments were conducted with the current operational version of the code and at full operational resolution. Based on the results of the experiments analyzed here, profiles of refractivity were selected as the type of GPS RO observation to be assimilated. Further enhancement to the assimilation of bending angles is currently being evaluated at NCEP.

The results show a significant improvement of the anomaly correlation skill and a global reduction of the NCEP model bias and root-mean-square errors when COSMIC observations are assimilated into the system. The improvement is found for the temperature, geopotential heights, and moisture variables. Larger benefits are found in the Southern Hemisphere extratropics, although a significant positive impact is also found in the Northern Hemisphere extratropics and the tropics. Even if GPS RO observations cannot produce direct impact on the wind field through the adjoint of the forward operator, a slight benefit is found in the wind components.

Corresponding author address: Lidia Cucurull, Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation, 5200 Auth Rd., Suitland, MD 20746. Email: lidia.cucurull@noaa.gov

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