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P. Chambon
J.-F. Mahfouf
O. Audouin
C. Birman
N. Fourrié
C. Loo
M. Martet
P. Moll
C. Payan
V. Pourret
, and
D. Raspaud


Observing system experiments were undertaken within the 4D-Var data assimilation of the Météo-France global numerical weather prediction (NWP) model. A 6-month period was chosen (October 2019–March 2020) where 40 million observations per day were assimilated. The importance of in situ observations provided by aircraft, radiosondes, and surface weather stations, despite their small fractional amount (7%), has been confirmed particularly in the Northern Hemisphere. Moreover, the largest impact over Europe in terms of root-mean-square error (RMSE) scores comes from surface observations. Satellite data play a dominant role over tropical regions and the Southern Hemisphere. Microwave radiances have a more pronounced impact on the long range and on the humidity field than infrared radiances, despite being less numerous (10% versus 80%). Bending angles impact significantly the quality of the upper-troposphere–lower-stratosphere temperature of the tropics and Southern Hemisphere. Atmospheric motion vectors (AMVs) are beneficial in wind forecasts at low and high levels in the tropics and the Southern Hemisphere, but also in the humidity field. Such impacts are only significant during the first 48 h of the forecasts. Scatterometer winds have an impact restricted to low levels that is kept at longer ranges. A comparison with forecast sensitivity–observation impact studies over a 3-month period using the same measure of short-range (24-h) forecast errors reveals that the ranking between the major observing systems is kept between these two ways of measuring observation impact in NWP. From our conclusions, recommendations are provided on possible evolutions of the global observing system for NWP.

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