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Mohar Chattopadhyay, Will McCarty, and Isaac Moradi

Abstract

Microwave temperature sounders provide key observations in data assimilation, both in the current and historical global observing systems, as they provide the largest amount of horizontal and vertical temperature information due to their insensitivity to clouds. In the Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, Version 2 (MERRA-2), microwave sounder radiances from the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-A (AMSU-A) are assimilated beginning with NOAA-15 and continuing through the current period. The time series of observation minus background statistics for AMSU-A channels sensitive to upper stratosphere and lower mesosphere show variabilities due to changes in AMSU-A constellation in the early AMSU-A period. Noted discrepancies are seen at the onset and exit of AMSU-A observations on the NOAA-15, NOAA-16, NOAA-17, and NASA EOS Aqua satellites. This effort characterizes the sensitivity, both in terms of the observations and the MERRA-2 analysis. Furthermore, it explores the use of reprocessed and inter-calibrated datasets to evaluate whether these homogenized observations can reduce the disparity due to change in instrumental biases against the model background. The results indicate that the AMSU-A radiances used in MERRA-2 are the fundamental cause of this inter-platform sensitivity which can be mitigated by using reprocessed data. The results explore the importance of the reprocessing of the AMSU-A radiances as well as their inter-calibration.

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Mohar Chattopadhyay, Will McCarty, and Isaac Moradi

Abstract

Microwave temperature sounders provide key observations in data assimilation, both in the current and historical global observing systems, as they provide the largest amount of horizontal and vertical temperature information due to their insensitivity to clouds. In the Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2), microwave sounder radiances from the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-A (AMSU-A) are assimilated beginning with NOAA-15 and continuing through the current period. The time series of observation minus background statistics for AMSU-A channels sensitive to the upper stratosphere and lower mesosphere show variabilities due to changes in the AMSU-A constellation in the early AMSU-A period. Noted discrepancies are seen at the onset and exit of AMSU-A observations on the NOAA-15, NOAA-16, NOAA-17, and NASA EOS Aqua satellites. This effort characterizes the sensitivity, both in terms of the observations and the MERRA-2 data. Furthermore, it explores the use of reprocessed and intercalibrated datasets to evaluate whether these homogenized observations can reduce the disparity due to change in instrumental biases against the model background. The results indicate that the AMSU-A radiances used in MERRA-2 are the fundamental cause of this interplatform sensitivity, which can be mitigated by using reprocessed data. The results explore the importance of the reprocessing of the AMSU-A radiances as well as their intercalibration.

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Ronald Gelaro, Will McCarty, Max J. Suárez, Ricardo Todling, Andrea Molod, Lawrence Takacs, Cynthia A. Randles, Anton Darmenov, Michael G. Bosilovich, Rolf Reichle, Krzysztof Wargan, Lawrence Coy, Richard Cullather, Clara Draper, Santha Akella, Virginie Buchard, Austin Conaty, Arlindo M. da Silva, Wei Gu, Gi-Kong Kim, Randal Koster, Robert Lucchesi, Dagmar Merkova, Jon Eric Nielsen, Gary Partyka, Steven Pawson, William Putman, Michele Rienecker, Siegfried D. Schubert, Meta Sienkiewicz, and Bin Zhao

Abstract

The Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2), is the latest atmospheric reanalysis of the modern satellite era produced by NASA’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO). MERRA-2 assimilates observation types not available to its predecessor, MERRA, and includes updates to the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) model and analysis scheme so as to provide a viable ongoing climate analysis beyond MERRA’s terminus. While addressing known limitations of MERRA, MERRA-2 is also intended to be a development milestone for a future integrated Earth system analysis (IESA) currently under development at GMAO. This paper provides an overview of the MERRA-2 system and various performance metrics. Among the advances in MERRA-2 relevant to IESA are the assimilation of aerosol observations, several improvements to the representation of the stratosphere including ozone, and improved representations of cryospheric processes. Other improvements in the quality of MERRA-2 compared with MERRA include the reduction of some spurious trends and jumps related to changes in the observing system and reduced biases and imbalances in aspects of the water cycle. Remaining deficiencies are also identified. Production of MERRA-2 began in June 2014 in four processing streams and converged to a single near-real-time stream in mid-2015. MERRA-2 products are accessible online through the NASA Goddard Earth Sciences Data Information Services Center (GES DISC).

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