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J. M. Vergin
,
D. R. Johnson
, and
R. Atlas

Abstract

The results of a quasi-Lagrangian diagnostic study of two 72 h Goddard Laboratory for Atmospheric Sciences (GLAS) model cyclone predictions from 0000 GMT 19 February 1976 are presented and compared with observed results. One model forecast (SAT) was generated from initial conditions which included satellite sounding data, and the other model forecast (NOSAT) was generated from initial conditions that excluded satellite sounding data. Examination of the mass and angular momentum budget statistics for the SAT and NOSAT forecasts reveals substantial differences. The improvement in the SAT forecast is established from the more realistic SAT budget statistics, and results from the modifications of initial atmospheric structure due to satellite information.

The assimilation of satellite data caused modifications of the horizontal mass and eddy angular momentum transports at the zero hour. The assimilation of satellite data resulted in colder temperatures and weaker stabilities in the lower layers of the northwest quadrant of the budget volume, and thus an improved structure of the cold polar air mass over a relatively warm ocean surface. In the southwest quadrant of the budget volume, the SAT assimilation produced an increase in the stability of the middle and lower layers and an increase in temperatures throughout much of the troposphere. These modifications in the temperature structure were the primary reasons for the improved mass and eddy angular momentum transports which contributed to the better SAT forecast for the cyclone event.

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Arthur Y. Hou
,
David V. Ledvina
,
Arlindo M. da Silva
,
Sara Q. Zhang
,
Joanna Joiner
,
Robert M. Atlas
,
George J. Huffman
, and
Christian D. Kummerow

Abstract

This article describes a variational framework for assimilating the SSM/I-derived surface rain rate and total precipitable water (TPW) and examines their impact on the analysis produced by the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) Data Assimilation System (DAS). The SSM/I observations consist of tropical rain rates retrieved using the Goddard Profiling Algorithm and tropical TPW estimates produced by Wentz.

In a series of assimilation experiments for December 1992, results show that the SSM/I-derived rain rate, despite current uncertainty in its intensity, is better than the model-generated precipitation. Assimilating rainfall data improves cloud distributions and the cloudy-sky radiation, while assimilating TPW data reduces a moisture bias in the lower troposphere to improve the clear-sky radiation. Together, the two data types reduce the monthly mean spatial bias by 46% and the error standard deviation by 26% in the outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) averaged over the Tropics, as compared with the NOAA OLR observation product. The improved cloud distribution, in turn, improves the solar radiation at the surface. There is also evidence that the latent heating change associated with the improved precipitation improves the large-scale circulation in the Tropics. This is inferred from a comparison of the clear-sky brightness temperatures for TIROS Operational Vertical Sounder channel 12 computed from the GEOS analyses with the observed values, suggesting that rainfall assimilation reduces a prevailing moist bias in the upper-tropospheric humidity in the GEOS system through enhanced subsidence between the major convective centers.

This work shows that assimilation of satellite-derived precipitation and TPW can reduce state-dependent systematic errors in the OLR, clouds, surface radiation, and the large-scale circulation in the assimilated dataset. The improved analysis also leads to better short-range forecasts, but the impact is modest compared with improvements in the time-averaged signals in the analysis. The study shows that, in the presence of biases and other errors of the forecast model, it is possible to improve the time-averaged “climate content” in the data without comparable improvements in forecast. The full impact of these data types on the analysis cannot be measured solely in terms of forecast skills.

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Hui W. Christophersen
,
Brittany A. Dahl
,
Jason P. Dunion
,
Robert F. Rogers
,
Frank D. Marks
,
Robert Atlas
, and
William J. Blackwell

Abstract

As part of the NASA Earth Venture-Instrument program, the Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS) mission, to be launched in January 2022, will deliver unprecedented rapid-update microwave measurements over the tropics that can be used to observe the evolution of the precipitation and thermodynamic structure of tropical cyclones (TCs) at meso- and synoptic scales. TROPICS consists of six CubeSats, each hosting a passive microwave radiometer that provides radiance observations sensitive to atmospheric temperature, water vapor, precipitation, and precipitation-sized ice particles. In this study, the impact of TROPICS all-sky radiances on TC analyses and forecasts is explored through a regional mesoscale observing system simulation experiment (OSSE). The results indicate that the TROPICS all-sky radiances can have positive impacts on TC track and intensity forecasts, particularly when some hydrometeor state variables and other state variables of the data assimilation system that are relevant to cloudy radiance assimilation are updated. The largest impact on the model analyses is seen in the humidity fields, regardless of whether or not there are radiances assimilated from other satellites. TROPICS radiances demonstrate large impact on TC analyses and forecasts when other satellite radiances are absent. The assimilation of the all-sky TROPICS radiances without default radiances leads to a consistent improvement in the low- and midtropospheric temperature and wind forecasts throughout the 5-day forecasts, but only up to 36-h lead time in the humidity forecasts at all pressure levels. This study illustrates the potential benefits of TROPICS data assimilation for TC forecasts and provides a potentially streamlined pathway for transitioning TROPICS data from research to operations postlaunch.

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