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Bruce Ingleby, Patricia Pauley, Alexander Kats, Jeff Ator, Dennis Keyser, Alexis Doerenbecher, Enrico Fucile, Jitsuko Hasegawa, Eizi Toyoda, Tanja Kleinert, Weiqing Qu, Judy St. James, Warren Tennant, and Richard Weedon

Abstract

Some real-time radiosonde reports are now available with higher vertical resolution and higher precision than the alphanumeric TEMP code. There are also extra metadata; for example, the software version may indicate whether humidity corrections have been applied at the station. Numerical weather prediction (NWP) centers and other users need to start using the new Binary Universal Form for Representation of Meteorological Data (BUFR) reports because the alphanumeric codes are being withdrawn. TEMP code has various restrictions and complexities introduced when telecommunication speed and costs were overriding concerns; one consequence is minor temperature rounding errors. In some ways BUFR reports are simpler: the whole ascent should be contained in a single report. BUFR reports can also include the time and location of each level; an ascent takes about 2 h and the balloon can drift 100 km or more laterally. This modernization is the largest and most complex change to the worldwide reporting of radiosonde observations for many years; international implementation is taking longer than planned and is very uneven. The change brings both opportunities and challenges. The biggest challenge is that the number and quality of the data from radiosonde ascents may suffer if the assessment of the BUFR reports and two-way communication between data producers and data users are not given the priority they require. It is possible that some countries will only attempt to replicate the old reports in the new format, not taking advantage of the benefits, which include easier treatment of radiosonde drift and a better understanding of instrument and processing details, as well as higher resolution.

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Philippe Bougeault, Zoltan Toth, Craig Bishop, Barbara Brown, David Burridge, De Hui Chen, Beth Ebert, Manuel Fuentes, Thomas M. Hamill, Ken Mylne, Jean Nicolau, Tiziana Paccagnella, Young-Youn Park, David Parsons, Baudouin Raoult, Doug Schuster, Pedro Silva Dias, Richard Swinbank, Yoshiaki Takeuchi, Warren Tennant, Laurence Wilson, and Steve Worley

Ensemble forecasting is increasingly accepted as a powerful tool to improve early warnings for high-impact weather. Recently, ensembles combining forecasts from different systems have attracted a considerable level of interest. The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) Interactive Grand Globa l Ensemble (TIGGE) project, a prominent contribution to THORPEX, has been initiated to enable advanced research and demonstration of the multimodel ensemble concept and to pave the way toward operational implementation of such a system at the international level. The objectives of TIGGE are 1) to facilitate closer cooperation between the academic and operational meteorological communities by expanding the availability of operational products for research, and 2) to facilitate exploring the concept and benefits of multimodel probabilistic weather forecasts, with a particular focus on high-impact weather prediction. Ten operational weather forecasting centers producing daily global ensemble forecasts to 1–2 weeks ahead have agreed to deliver in near–real time a selection of forecast data to the TIGGE data archives at the China Meteorological Agency, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The volume of data accumulated daily is 245 GB (1.6 million global fields). This is offered to the scientific community as a new resource for research and education. The TIGGE data policy is to make each forecast accessible via the Internet 48 h after it was initially issued by each originating center. Quicker access can also be granted for field experiments or projects of particular interest to the World Weather Research Programme and THORPEX. A few examples of initial results based on TIGGE data are discussed in this paper, and the case is made for additional research in several directions.

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