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William R. Moninger
,
Stanley G. Benjamin
,
Brian D. Jamison
,
Thomas W. Schlatter
,
Tracy Lorraine Smith
, and
Edward J. Szoke

Abstract

A multiyear evaluation of a regional aircraft observation system [Tropospheric Aircraft Meteorological Data Reports (TAMDAR)] is presented. TAMDAR observation errors are compared with errors in traditional reports from commercial aircraft [aircraft meteorological data reports (AMDAR)], and the impacts of TAMDAR observations on forecasts from the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) over a 3-yr period are evaluated. Because of the high vertical resolution of TAMDAR observations near the surface, a novel verification system has been developed and employed that compares RUC forecasts against raobs every 10 hPa; this revealed TAMDAR-related positive impacts on RUC forecasts—particularly for relative humidity forecasts—that were not evident when only raob mandatory levels were considered. In addition, multiple retrospective experiments were performed over two 10-day periods, one in winter and one in summer; these allowed for the assessment of the impacts of various data assimilation strategies and varying data resolutions. TAMDAR’s impacts on 3-h RUC forecasts of temperature, relative humidity, and wind are found to be positive and, for temperature and relative humidity, substantial in the region, altitude, and time range over which TAMDAR-equipped aircraft operated during the studied period of analysis.

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