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Ronald M. Errico, George Ohring, Fuzhong Weng, Peter Bauer, Brad Ferrier, Jean-François Mahfouf, and Joe Turk

Abstract

To date, the assimilation of satellite measurements in numerical weather prediction (NWP) models has focused on the clear atmosphere. But satellite observations in the visible, infrared, and microwave provide a great deal of information on clouds and precipitation. This special collection describes how to use this information to initialize clouds and precipitation in models. Since clouds and precipitation often occur in sensitive regions for forecast impacts, such improvements are likely necessary for continuing to acquire significant gains in weather forecasting.

This special collection of the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences is devoted to articles based on papers presented at the International Workshop on Assimilation of Satellite Cloud and Precipitation Observations in Numerical Weather Prediction Models, in Lansdowne, Virginia, in May 2005. This introduction summarizes the findings of the workshop. The special collection includes review articles on satellite observations of clouds and precipitation (Stephens and Kummerow), parameterizations of clouds and precipitation in NWP models (Lopez), radiative transfer in cloudy/precipitating atmospheres (Weng), and assimilation of cloud and precipitation observations (Errico et al.), as well as research papers on these topics.

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