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Shigenori Otsuka, Shunji Kotsuki, and Takemasa Miyoshi


Space–time extrapolation is a key technique in precipitation nowcasting. Motions of patterns are estimated using two or more consecutive images, and the patterns are extrapolated in space and time to obtain their future patterns. Applying space–time extrapolation to satellite-based global precipitation data will provide valuable information for regions where ground-based precipitation nowcasts are not available. However, this technique is sensitive to the accuracy of the motion vectors, and over the past few decades, previous studies have investigated methods for obtaining reliable motion vectors such as variational techniques. In this paper, an alternative approach applying data assimilation to precipitation nowcasting is proposed. A prototype extrapolation system is implemented with the local ensemble transform Kalman filter and is tested with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Global Satellite Mapping of Precipitation (GSMaP) product. Data assimilation successfully improved the global precipitation nowcasting with the real-case GSMaP data.

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Shunji Kotsuki, Steven J. Greybush, and Takemasa Miyoshi


With the serial treatment of observations in the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF), the assimilation order of observations is usually assumed to have no significant impact on analysis accuracy. However, Nerger derived that analyses with different assimilation orders are different if covariance localization is applied in the observation space. This study explores whether the assimilation order can be optimized to systematically improve the filter estimates. A mathematical demonstration of a simple two-dimensional case indicates that different assimilation orders can cause different analyses, although the differences are two orders of magnitude smaller than the analysis increments if two identical observation error variances are the same size as the two identical state error variances. Numerical experiments using the Lorenz-96 40-variable model show that the small difference due to different assimilation orders could eventually result in a significant difference in analysis accuracy. Several ordering rules are tested, and the results show that an ordering rule that gives a better forecast relative to future observations improves the analysis accuracy. In addition, the analysis is improved significantly by ordering observations from worse to better impacts using the ensemble forecast sensitivity to observations (EFSO), which estimates how much each observation reduces or increases the forecast error. With the EFSO ordering rule, the change in error during the serial assimilation process is similar to that obtained by the experimentally found best sampled assimilation order. The ordering has more impact when the ensemble size is smaller relative to the degrees of freedom of the dynamical system.

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Shunji Kotsuki, Kenta Kurosawa, Shigenori Otsuka, Koji Terasaki, and Takemasa Miyoshi


Over the past few decades, precipitation forecasts by numerical weather prediction (NWP) models have been remarkably improved. Yet, precipitation nowcasting based on spatiotemporal extrapolation tends to provide a better precipitation forecast at shorter lead times with much less computation. Therefore, merging the precipitation forecasts from the NWP and extrapolation systems would be a viable approach to quantitative precipitation forecast (QPF). Although the optimal weights between the NWP and extrapolation systems are usually defined as a global constant, the weights would vary in space, particularly for global QPF. This study proposes a method to find the optimal weights at each location using the local threat score (LTS), a spatially localized version of the threat score. We test the locally optimal weighting with a global NWP system composed of the local ensemble transform Kalman filter and the Nonhydrostatic Icosahedral Atmospheric Model (NICAM-LETKF). For the extrapolation system, the RIKEN’s global precipitation nowcasting system called GSMaP_RNC is used. GSMaP_RNC extrapolates precipitation patterns from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)’s Global Satellite Mapping of Precipitation (GSMaP). The benefit of merging in global precipitation forecast lasts longer compared to regional precipitation forecast. The results show that the locally optimal weighting is beneficial.

Open access