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Zhaoxia Pu, Chaulam Yu, Vijay Tallapragada, Jianjun Jin, and Will McCarty


The impact of assimilating Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Microwave Imager (GMI) clear-sky radiance on the track and intensity forecasts of two Atlantic hurricanes during the 2015 and 2016 hurricane seasons is assessed using the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) Model. The GMI clear-sky brightness temperature is assimilated using a Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation (GSI)-based hybrid ensemble–variational data assimilation system, which utilizes the Community Radiative Transfer Model (CRTM) as a forward operator for satellite sensors. A two-step bias correction approach, which combines a linear regression procedure and variational bias correction, is used to remove most of the systematic biases prior to data assimilation. Forecast results show that assimilating GMI clear-sky radiance has positive impacts on both track and intensity forecasts, with the extent depending on the phase of hurricane evolution. Forecast verifications against dropsonde soundings and reanalysis data show that assimilating GMI clear-sky radiance, when it does not overlap with overpasses of other microwave sounders, can improve forecasts of both thermodynamic (e.g., temperature and specific humidity) and dynamic variables (geopotential height and wind field), which in turn lead to better track forecasts and a more realistic hurricane inner-core structure. Even when other microwave sounders are present (e.g., AMSU-A, ATMS, MHS, etc.), the assimilation of GMI still reduces temperature forecast errors in the near-hurricane environment, which has a significant impact on the intensity forecast.

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Liao-Fan Lin, Ardeshir M. Ebtehaj, Alejandro N. Flores, Satish Bastola, and Rafael L. Bras


This paper presents a framework that enables simultaneous assimilation of satellite precipitation and soil moisture observations into the coupled Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) and Noah land surface model through variational approaches. The authors tested the framework by assimilating precipitation data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and soil moisture data from the Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite. The results show that assimilation of both TRMM and SMOS data can effectively improve the forecast skills of precipitation, top 10-cm soil moisture, and 2-m temperature and specific humidity. Within a 2-day time window, impacts of precipitation data assimilation on the forecasts remain relatively constant for forecast lead times greater than 6 h, while the influence of soil moisture data assimilation increases with lead time. The study also demonstrates that the forecast skill of precipitation, soil moisture, and near-surface temperature and humidity are further improved when both the TRMM and SMOS data are assimilated. In particular, the combined data assimilation reduces the prediction biases and root-mean-square errors, respectively, by 57% and 6% (for precipitation); 73% and 27% (for soil moisture); 17% and 9% (for 2-m temperature); and 33% and 11% (for 2-m specific humidity).

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Sara Q. Zhang, T. Matsui, S. Cheung, M. Zupanski, and C. Peters-Lidard


This work assimilates multisensor precipitation-sensitive microwave radiance observations into a storm-scale NASA Unified Weather Research and Forecasting (NU-WRF) Model simulation of the West African monsoon. The analysis consists of a full description of the atmospheric states and a realistic cloud and precipitation distribution that is consistent with the observed dynamic and physical features. The analysis shows an improved representation of monsoon precipitation and its interaction with dynamics over West Africa. Most significantly, assimilation of precipitation-affected microwave radiance has a positive impact on the distribution of precipitation intensity and also modulates the propagation of cloud precipitation systems associated with the African easterly jet. Using an ensemble-based assimilation technique that allows state-dependent forecast error covariance among dynamical and microphysical variables, this work shows that the assimilation of precipitation-sensitive microwave radiances over the West African monsoon rainband enables initialization of storms. These storms show the characteristics of continental tropical convection that enhance the connection between tropical waves and organized convection systems.

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