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Nadia Fourrié, Chantal Claud, and Alain Chédin

Abstract

At the end of December 1999, two extremely severe storms only one day apart affected western Europe and caused considerable damage. A variable derived from satellite observations, the so-called temperature of the lower stratosphere (TLS), is used in this study for detecting and tracking the upper-level components of these storms. TLS is computed from a regression over five Television and Infrared Observation Satellite (TIROS-N) Operational Vertical Sounder (TOVS, aboard NOAA satellites) channels, with coefficients calculated from a climatological dataset [thermodynamical initial-guess retrieval (TIGR)], and provides information on the temperature near the tropopause. The objective of this paper is to assess the ability of TLS, in situations such as these two exceptional storms, to track and depict upper-tropospheric precursors of surface lows. After a brief synoptic description of the meteorological situation, TLS fields as well as the Action de Recherche Petite Échelle Grand Échelle (ARPEGE) model fields (mean sea level pressure, temperature, wind velocity, and geopotential height of the dynamical tropopause) are discussed concurrently for the period 23–27 December. Although the upper-level thermal fields are consistent overall, differences appear, especially during the incipient stage of the second storm. The forecast, which was poor in the operational context, is modified when a configuration close to the TLS one is adopted. Qualitative comparisons of TLS with Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) channel-3 limb-corrected brightness temperatures and with the water vapor imagery are also shown. One advantage of TLS over these two other fields is the earlier detection of the upper-level precursor of the second storm. Because TLS computation is easy and fast, the suitability of TLS as a possible forecasting aid over midoceanic regions is promoted.

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Thomas Pangaud, Nadia Fourrie, Vincent Guidard, Mohamed Dahoui, and Florence Rabier

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An approach to make use of Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) cloud-affected infrared radiances has been developed at Météo-France in the context of the global numerical weather prediction model. The method is based on (i) the detection and the characterization of clouds by the CO2-slicing algorithm and (ii) the identification of clear–cloudy channels using the ECMWF cloud-detection scheme. Once a hypothetical cloud-affected pixel is detected by the CO2-slicing scheme, the cloud-top pressure and the effective cloud fraction are provided to the radiative transfer model simultaneously with other atmospheric variables to simulate cloud-affected radiances. Furthermore, the ECMWF scheme flags each channel of the pixel as clear or cloudy. In the current configuration of the assimilation scheme, channels affected by clouds whose cloud-top pressure ranges between 600 and 950 hPa are assimilated over sea in addition to clear channels. Results of assimilation experiments are presented. On average, 3.5% of additional pixels are assimilated over the globe but additional assimilated channels are much more numerous for mid- to high latitudes (10% of additional assimilated channels on average). Encouraging results are found in the quality of the analyses: background departures of AIRS observations are reduced, especially for surface channels, which are globally 4 times smaller, and the analysis better fits some conventional and satellite data. Global forecasts are slightly improved for the geopotential field. These improvements are significant up to the 72-h forecast range. Predictability improvements have been obtained for a case study: a low pressure system that affected the southeastern part of Italy in September 2006. The trajectory, intensity, and the whole development of the cyclogenesis are better predicted, whatever the forecast range, for this case study.

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Stephen A. Cohn, Terry Hock, Philippe Cocquerez, Junhong Wang, Florence Rabier, David Parsons, Patrick Harr, Chun-Chieh Wu, Philippe Drobinski, Fatima Karbou, Stéphanie Vénel, André Vargas, Nadia Fourrié, Nathalie Saint-Ramond, Vincent Guidard, Alexis Doerenbecher, Huang-Hsiung Hsu, Po-Hsiung Lin, Ming-Dah Chou, Jean-Luc Redelsperger, Charlie Martin, Jack Fox, Nick Potts, Kathryn Young, and Hal Cole

Constellations of driftsonde systems— gondolas floating in the stratosphere and able to release dropsondes upon command— have so far been used in three major field experiments from 2006 through 2010. With them, high-quality, high-resolution, in situ atmospheric profiles were made over extended periods in regions that are otherwise very difficult to observe. The measurements have unique value for verifying and evaluating numerical weather prediction models and global data assimilation systems; they can be a valuable resource to validate data from remote sensing instruments, especially on satellites, but also airborne or ground-based remote sensors. These applications for models and remote sensors result in a powerful combination for improving data assimilation systems. Driftsondes also can support process studies in otherwise difficult locations—for example, to study factors that control the development or decay of a tropical disturbance, or to investigate the lower boundary layer over the interior Antarctic continent. The driftsonde system is now a mature and robust observing system that can be combined with flight-level data to conduct multidisciplinary research at heights well above that reached by current research aircraft. In this article we describe the development and capabilities of the driftsonde system, the exemplary science resulting from its use to date, and some future applications.

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Florence Rabier, Steve Cohn, Philippe Cocquerez, Albert Hertzog, Linnea Avallone, Terry Deshler, Jennifer Haase, Terry Hock, Alexis Doerenbecher, Junhong Wang, Vincent Guidard, Jean-Noël Thépaut, Rolf Langland, Andrew Tangborn, Gianpaolo Balsamo, Eric Brun, David Parsons, Jérôme Bordereau, Carla Cardinali, François Danis, Jean-Pierre Escarnot, Nadia Fourrié, Ron Gelaro, Christophe Genthon, Kayo Ide, Lars Kalnajs, Charlie Martin, Louis-François Meunier, Jean-Marc Nicot, Tuuli Perttula, Nicholas Potts, Patrick Ragazzo, David Richardson, Sergio Sosa-Sesma, and André Vargas
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Véronique Ducrocq, Isabelle Braud, Silvio Davolio, Rossella Ferretti, Cyrille Flamant, Agustin Jansa, Norbert Kalthoff, Evelyne Richard, Isabelle Taupier-Letage, Pierre-Alain Ayral, Sophie Belamari, Alexis Berne, Marco Borga, Brice Boudevillain, Olivier Bock, Jean-Luc Boichard, Marie-Noëlle Bouin, Olivier Bousquet, Christophe Bouvier, Jacopo Chiggiato, Domenico Cimini, Ulrich Corsmeier, Laurent Coppola, Philippe Cocquerez, Eric Defer, Julien Delanoë, Paolo Di Girolamo, Alexis Doerenbecher, Philippe Drobinski, Yann Dufournet, Nadia Fourrié, Jonathan J. Gourley, Laurent Labatut, Dominique Lambert, Jérôme Le Coz, Frank S. Marzano, Gilles Molinié, Andrea Montani, Guillaume Nord, Mathieu Nuret, Karim Ramage, William Rison, Odile Roussot, Frédérique Said, Alfons Schwarzenboeck, Pierre Testor, Joël Van Baelen, Béatrice Vincendon, Montserrat Aran, and Jorge Tamayo

The Mediterranean region is frequently affected by heavy precipitation events associated with flash floods, landslides, and mudslides that cause hundreds of millions of euros in damages per year and, often, casualties. A major field campaign was devoted to heavy precipitation and f lash f loods from 5 September to 6 November 2012 within the framework of the 10-yr international Hydrological Cycle in the Mediterranean Experiment (HyMeX) dedicated to the hydrological cycle and related high-impact events. The 2-month field campaign took place over the northwestern Mediterranean Sea and its surrounding coastal regions in France, Italy, and Spain. The observation strategy of the field experiment was devised to improve knowledge of the following key components leading to heavy precipitation and flash flooding in the region: 1) the marine atmospheric f lows that transport moist and conditionally unstable air toward the coasts, 2) the Mediterranean Sea acting as a moisture and energy source, 3) the dynamics and microphysics of the convective systems producing heavy precipitation, and 4) the hydrological processes during flash floods. This article provides the rationale for developing this first HyMeX field experiment and an overview of its design and execution. Highlights of some intensive observation periods illustrate the potential of the unique datasets collected for process understanding, model improvement, and data assimilation.

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Fiona Hilton, Raymond Armante, Thomas August, Chris Barnet, Aurelie Bouchard, Claude Camy-Peyret, Virginie Capelle, Lieven Clarisse, Cathy Clerbaux, Pierre-Francois Coheur, Andrew Collard, Cyril Crevoisier, Gaelle Dufour, David Edwards, Francois Faijan, Nadia Fourrié, Antonia Gambacorta, Mitchell Goldberg, Vincent Guidard, Daniel Hurtmans, Samuel Illingworth, Nicole Jacquinet-Husson, Tobias Kerzenmacher, Dieter Klaes, Lydie Lavanant, Guido Masiello, Marco Matricardi, Anthony McNally, Stuart Newman, Edward Pavelin, Sebastien Payan, Eric Péquignot, Sophie Peyridieu, Thierry Phulpin, John Remedios, Peter Schlüssel, Carmine Serio, Larrabee Strow, Claudia Stubenrauch, Jonathan Taylor, David Tobin, Walter Wolf, and Daniel Zhou

The Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) forms the main infrared sounding component of the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites's (EUMETSAT's) Meteorological Operation (MetOp)-A satellite (Klaes et al. 2007), which was launched in October 2006. This article presents the results of the first 4 yr of the operational IASI mission. The performance of the instrument is shown to be exceptional in terms of calibration and stability. The quality of the data has allowed the rapid use of the observations in operational numerical weather prediction (NWP) and the development of new products for atmospheric chemistry and climate studies, some of which were unexpected before launch. The assimilation of IASI observations in NWP models provides a significant forecast impact; in most cases the impact has been shown to be at least as large as for any previous instrument. In atmospheric chemistry, global distributions of gases, such as ozone and carbon monoxide, can be produced in near–real time, and short-lived species, such as ammonia or methanol, can be mapped, allowing the identification of new sources. The data have also shown the ability to track the location and chemistry of gaseous plumes and particles associated with volcanic eruptions and fires, providing valuable data for air quality monitoring and aircraft safety. IASI also contributes to the establishment of robust long-term data records of several essential climate variables. The suite of products being developed from IASI continues to expand as the data are investigated, and further impacts are expected from increased use of the data in NWP and climate studies in the coming years. The instrument has set a high standard for future operational hyperspectral infrared sounders and has demonstrated that such instruments have a vital role in the global observing system.

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