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C. Faccani, F. Rabier, N. Fourrié, A. Agusti-Panareda, F. Karbou, P. Moll, J.-P. Lafore, M. Nuret, F. Hdidou, and O. Bock


The high vertical density soundings recorded during the 2006 African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) campaign are assimilated into the French numerical weather prediction Action de Recherche Petite Echelle Grande Echelle (ARPEGE) four-dimensional variational data assimilation (4DVAR) system, with and without a bias correction for relative humidity. Four different experiments are carried out to assess the impacts of the added observations. The analyses and forecasts from these different scenarios are evaluated over western Africa. For the full experiment using all data together with a bias correction, the humidity analysis is in better agreement with surface observations and independent GPS observations than it was for the other experiments. AMMA data also improve the African easterly jet (AEJ) on its southeasterly side, and when they are used with an appropriate bias correction, the daily and monthly averaged precipitation results are in relatively good agreement with the satellite-based precipitation estimates. Forecast scores are computed with respect to surface observations, radiosondes, and analyses from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). The positive impacts of additional radiosonde observations (with a relevant bias correction) are found to propagate downstream with a positive impact over Europe at the 2–3-day forecast range.

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L. Magnusson, J.-R. Bidlot, M. Bonavita, A. R. Brown, P. A. Browne, G. De Chiara, M. Dahoui, S. T. K. Lang, T. McNally, K. S. Mogensen, F. Pappenberger, F. Prates, F. Rabier, D. S. Richardson, F. Vitart, and S. Malardel


Tropical cyclones are some of the most devastating natural hazards and the “three beasts”—Harvey, Irma, and Maria—during the Atlantic hurricane season 2017 are recent examples. The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is working on fulfilling its 2016–25 strategy in which early warnings for extreme events will be made possible by a high-resolution Earth system ensemble forecasting system. Several verification reports acknowledge deterministic and probabilistic tropical cyclone tracks from ECMWF as world leading. However, producing reliable intensity forecasts is still a difficult task for the ECMWF global forecasting model, especially regarding maximum wind speed. This article will put the ECMWF strategy into a tropical cyclone perspective and highlight some key research activities, using Harvey, Irma, and Maria as examples. We describe the observation usage around tropical cyclones in data assimilation and give examples of their impact. From a model perspective, we show the impact of running at 5-km resolution and also the impact of applying ocean coupling. Finally, we discuss the future challenges to tackle the errors in intensity forecasts for tropical cyclones.

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D. B. Parsons, M. Beland, D. Burridge, P. Bougeault, G. Brunet, J. Caughey, S. M. Cavallo, M. Charron, H. C. Davies, A. Diongue Niang, V. Ducrocq, P. Gauthier, T. M. Hamill, P. A. Harr, S. C. Jones, R. H. Langland, S. J. Majumdar, B. N. Mills, M. Moncrieff, T. Nakazawa, T. Paccagnella, F. Rabier, J.-L. Redelsperger, C. Riedel, R. W. Saunders, M. A. Shapiro, R. Swinbank, I. Szunyogh, C. Thorncroft, A. J. Thorpe, X. Wang, D. Waliser, H. Wernli, and Z. Toth


The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) was a 10-yr, international research program organized by the World Meteorological Organization’s World Weather Research Program. THORPEX was motivated by the need to accelerate the rate of improvement in the accuracy of 1-day to 2-week forecasts of high-impact weather for the benefit of society, the economy, and the environment. THORPEX, which took place from 2005 to 2014, was the first major international program focusing on the advancement of global numerical weather prediction systems since the Global Atmospheric Research Program, which took place almost 40 years earlier, from 1967 through 1982. The scientific achievements of THORPEX were accomplished through bringing together scientists from operational centers, research laboratories, and the academic community to collaborate on research that would ultimately advance operational predictive skill. THORPEX included an unprecedented effort to make operational products readily accessible to the broader academic research community, with community efforts focused on problems where challenging science intersected with the potential to accelerate improvements in predictive skill. THORPEX also collaborated with other major programs to identify research areas of mutual interest, such as topics at the intersection of weather and climate. THORPEX research has 1) increased our knowledge of the global-to-regional influences on the initiation, evolution, and predictability of high-impact weather; 2) provided insight into how predictive skill depends on observing strategies and observing systems; 3) improved data assimilation and ensemble forecast systems; 4) advanced knowledge of high-impact weather associated with tropical and polar circulations and their interactions with midlatitude flows; and 5) expanded society’s use of weather information through applied and social science research.

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