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Assessment of FY-3A and FY-3B MWHS Observations

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  • 1 International Center for Climate and Environment Sciences, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, and Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Chengdu University of Information Technology, Chengdu, China
  • | 2 European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, United Kingdom
  • | 3 International Center for Climate and Environment Sciences, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Beijing, China
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Abstract

The Fengyun-3 series of satellites (FY-3) began in May 2008 with the launch of FY-3A. The onboard Microwave Humidity Sounders (MWHSs) provide vertical information about water vapor, which is important for numerical weather prediction (NWP). The noise equivalent delta temperature (NEDT) of the MWHS is higher than that of the Microwave Humidity Sounder (MHS) instrument (e.g., on board MetOp-B) but lower than that of the older AMSU-B instruments (on board NOAA-15, NOAA-16, and NOAA-17). Assimilation of MWHS observations into the ECMWF Integrated Forecast System (IFS) improved the fit of short-range forecasts to other observations, notably MHS, and also slightly improved the longer-range forecast scores verified against analyses. Also, assimilating the MWHS on board both FY-3A and FY-3B gave a larger impact than either instrument alone. Furthermore, when MWHS and MHS were added separately to a baseline using neither, the impact of MWHS was found to be comparable to that of MHS. Consequently, ECMWF has been assimilating the FY-3B MWHS data in the operational forecasting system since 24 September 2014. This is the first operational use of Chinese polar-orbiting satellite data by an NWP center outside of China.

Corresponding author address: Keyi Chen, ICCES, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 9804, Beijing 100029, China. E-mail: ckydlt@aliyun.com

Abstract

The Fengyun-3 series of satellites (FY-3) began in May 2008 with the launch of FY-3A. The onboard Microwave Humidity Sounders (MWHSs) provide vertical information about water vapor, which is important for numerical weather prediction (NWP). The noise equivalent delta temperature (NEDT) of the MWHS is higher than that of the Microwave Humidity Sounder (MHS) instrument (e.g., on board MetOp-B) but lower than that of the older AMSU-B instruments (on board NOAA-15, NOAA-16, and NOAA-17). Assimilation of MWHS observations into the ECMWF Integrated Forecast System (IFS) improved the fit of short-range forecasts to other observations, notably MHS, and also slightly improved the longer-range forecast scores verified against analyses. Also, assimilating the MWHS on board both FY-3A and FY-3B gave a larger impact than either instrument alone. Furthermore, when MWHS and MHS were added separately to a baseline using neither, the impact of MWHS was found to be comparable to that of MHS. Consequently, ECMWF has been assimilating the FY-3B MWHS data in the operational forecasting system since 24 September 2014. This is the first operational use of Chinese polar-orbiting satellite data by an NWP center outside of China.

Corresponding author address: Keyi Chen, ICCES, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 9804, Beijing 100029, China. E-mail: ckydlt@aliyun.com
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