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Massimo Bonavita, Alan J. Geer, and Mats Hamrud


Recent success in assimilating cloud- and precipitation-affected satellite observations using the “all-sky” approach is thought to have benefitted from variational data assimilation, particularly its ability to handle moderate nonlinearity and non-Gaussianity and to extract wind information through the generalized tracer effect. Ensemble assimilation relies on assumptions including linearity and Gaussianity that might cause difficulties when using all-sky observations. Here, all-sky assimilation is evaluated in a global ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) system of near-operational quality, derived from an operational four-dimensional variational (4D-Var) system. To get EnKF working successfully required a new all-sky observation error model (the most successful approach was to inflate error as a multiple of the ensemble spread) and adjustments to localization. With these improvements, assimilation of eight microwave humidity instruments gave 2%–4% improvement in forecast scores whether using EnKF or 4D-Var. Correlations from the ensemble showed that all-sky observations generated sensitivity to wind, temperature, and humidity. EnKF increments shared many similarities with those in 4D-Var. Hence both 4D-Var and ensemble data assimilation were able to make good use of all-sky observations, including the extraction of wind information. In absolute terms the EnKF forecast performance in the troposphere was still worse than that that with 4D-Var, although the gap could be reduced by going from 50 to 100 ensemble members. EnKF errors were larger in the stratosphere, where there are excessive gravity wave increments that are not connected with all-sky assimilation.

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Alan J. Geer, Peter Bauer, and Christopher W. O’Dell


The assimilation of cloud- and precipitation-affected observations into weather forecasting systems requires very fast calculations of radiative transfer in the presence of multiple scattering. At the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), performance limitations mean that only a single cloudy calculation (including any precipitation) can be made, and the simulated radiance is a weighted combination of cloudy- and clear-sky radiances. Originally, the weight given to the cloudy part was the maximum cloud fraction in the atmospheric profile. However, this weighting was excessive, and because of nonlinear radiative transfer (the “beamfilling effect”) there were biases in areas of cloud and precipitation. A new approach instead uses the profile average cloud fraction, and decreases RMS errors by 40% in areas of rain or heavy clouds when “truth” comes from multiple independent column simulations. There is improvement all the way from low (e.g., 19 GHz) to high (e.g., 183 GHz) microwave frequencies. There is also improvement when truth comes from microwave imager observations. One minor problem is that biases increase slightly in mid- and upper-tropospheric sounding channels in light-cloud situations, which shows that future improvements will require the cloud fraction to vary according to the optical properties at different frequencies.

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Massimo Bonavita, Rossella Arcucci, Alberto Carrassi, Peter Dueben, Alan J. Geer, Bertrand Le Saux, Nicolas Longépé, Pierre-Philippe Mathieu, and Laure Raynaud
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Stefan Kneifel, José Dias Neto, Davide Ori, Dmitri Moisseev, Jani Tyynelä, Ian S. Adams, Kwo-Sen Kuo, Ralf Bennartz, Alexis Berne, Eugene E. Clothiaux, Patrick Eriksson, Alan J. Geer, Ryan Honeyager, Jussi Leinonen, and Christopher D. Westbrook
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Vinia Mattioli, Christophe Accadia, Catherine Prigent, Susanne Crewell, Alan Geer, Patrick Eriksson, Stuart Fox, Juan R. Pardo, Eli J. Mlawer, Maria Cadeddu, Michael Bremer, Carlos De Breuck, Alain Smette, Domenico Cimini, Emma Turner, Mario Mech, Frank S. Marzano, Pascal Brunel, Jerome Vidot, Ralf Bennartz, Tobias Wehr, Sabatino Di Michele, and Viju O. John
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Sid-Ahmed Boukabara, Vladimir Krasnopolsky, Stephen G. Penny, Jebb Q. Stewart, Amy McGovern, David Hall, John E. Ten Hoeve, Jason Hickey, Hung-Lung Allen Huang, John K. Williams, Kayo Ide, Philippe Tissot, Sue Ellen Haupt, Kenneth S. Casey, Nikunj Oza, Alan J. Geer, Eric S. Maddy, and Ross N. Hoffman

Capsule Summary

Current research applying artificial intelligence to the Earth and environmental sciences is progressing quickly, with emerging developments in terms of efficiency, accuracy, and discovery.

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