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Impacts of Mesonet Observations on Meteorological Surface Analyses

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
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Abstract

Given the heterogeneous equipment, maintenance and reporting practices, and siting of surface observing stations, subjective decisions that depend on the application tend to be made to use some observations and to avoid others. This research determines objectively high-impact surface observations of 2-m temperature, 2-m dewpoint, and 10-m wind observations using the adjoint of a two-dimensional variational surface analysis over the contiguous United States. The analyses reflect a weighted blend of 1-h numerical forecasts used as background grids and available observations. High-impact observations are defined as arising from poor observation quality, observation representativeness errors, or accurate observed weather conditions not evident in the background field. The impact of nearly 20 000 surface observations is computed over a sample of 100 analysis hours during 25 major weather events. Observation impacts are determined for each station as well as within broad network categories. For individual analysis hours, high-impact observations are located in regions of significant weather—typically, where the background field fails to define the local weather conditions. Low-impact observations tend to be ones where there are many observations reporting similar departures from the background. When averaged over the entire 100 cases, observations with the highest impact are found within all network categories and depend strongly on their location relative to other observing sites and the amount of variability in the weather; for example, temperature observations have reduced impact in urban areas such as Los Angeles, California, where observations are plentiful and temperature departures from the background grids are small.

Current affiliation: National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow, Monterey, California.

Corresponding author address: Daniel P. Tyndall, Naval Research Laboratory, 7 Grace Hopper Ave., Monterey, CA 93943. E-mail: dan.tyndall.ctr@nrlmry.navy.mil

Abstract

Given the heterogeneous equipment, maintenance and reporting practices, and siting of surface observing stations, subjective decisions that depend on the application tend to be made to use some observations and to avoid others. This research determines objectively high-impact surface observations of 2-m temperature, 2-m dewpoint, and 10-m wind observations using the adjoint of a two-dimensional variational surface analysis over the contiguous United States. The analyses reflect a weighted blend of 1-h numerical forecasts used as background grids and available observations. High-impact observations are defined as arising from poor observation quality, observation representativeness errors, or accurate observed weather conditions not evident in the background field. The impact of nearly 20 000 surface observations is computed over a sample of 100 analysis hours during 25 major weather events. Observation impacts are determined for each station as well as within broad network categories. For individual analysis hours, high-impact observations are located in regions of significant weather—typically, where the background field fails to define the local weather conditions. Low-impact observations tend to be ones where there are many observations reporting similar departures from the background. When averaged over the entire 100 cases, observations with the highest impact are found within all network categories and depend strongly on their location relative to other observing sites and the amount of variability in the weather; for example, temperature observations have reduced impact in urban areas such as Los Angeles, California, where observations are plentiful and temperature departures from the background grids are small.

Current affiliation: National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow, Monterey, California.

Corresponding author address: Daniel P. Tyndall, Naval Research Laboratory, 7 Grace Hopper Ave., Monterey, CA 93943. E-mail: dan.tyndall.ctr@nrlmry.navy.mil
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