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Zhengkun Qin
and
Xiaolei Zou

Abstract

The Tibetan Plateau is a sensitive area of global climate change, where few conventional observations exist. Satellite AMSU-A microwave temperature sounding observations of brightness temperature (TB) are located in the absorption band of oxygen, which is well mixed in the atmosphere, and have microwave frequencies varying from 50.3 to 57.6 GHz. Therefore, AMSU-A TB observations at different sounding channels reflect atmospheric temperatures at different altitudes. In this study, AMSU-A TB observations during 1998–2020 from five polar-orbiting environmental meteorological satellites (POESs) are employed to investigate the interdecadal warming/cooling trends over the Tibetan Plateau. A limb correction is first applied to all AMSU-A channels before using TB observations at all fields of view for examining geographic distributions and differences of global warming/cooling trends. It is found that interdecadal trends of upper-tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling are stronger over the Qinghai Tibetan Plateau than its eastern plain areas. An interdecadal variation of the annual cycle over the Tibetan Plateau is an important factor for the enhanced tropospheric warming trend. We also applied a different approach of significance testing that is based on counting signs of local trends (sign test) and confirmed that the detected significant local trends were not a result of chance. In addition, high-frequency noise in TB observations with periods smaller than annual and semiannual oscillations do not affect the climate trends of TB very much, but significantly reduced the uncertainty of the TB trends over the Tibetan Plateau.

Open access
Xiaolei Zou
,
Zhengkun Qin
, and
Fuzhong Weng

Abstract

Satellite microwave humidity sounding data are assimilated through the gridpoint statistical interpolation (GSI) analysis system into the Advanced Research core of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model (ARW) for a coastal precipitation event. A detailed analysis shows that uses of Microwave Humidity Sounder (MHS) data from both NOAA-18 and MetOp-A results in GSI degraded precipitation threat scores in a 24-h model forecast. The root cause for this degradation is related to the MHS quality control algorithm, which is supposed to remove cloudy radiances. Currently, the GSI cloud detection is based on the brightness temperature differences between observations and the model background state at two MHS window channels. It is found that the GSI quality control algorithm fails to identify some MHS cloudy radiances in cloud edges where the ARW model has no cloud and the water vapor amount is low. A new MHS cloud detection algorithm is developed based on a statistical relationship between three MHS channels and the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) imager channel at 10.7 μm. The 24-h quantitative precipitation forecast is improved rather than degraded by MHS radiance data assimilation when the new cloud detection algorithm is added to the GSI MHS quality control process. The temporal evolution of 3-h accumulative rainfall distributions compared favorably with that of multisensor NCEP observations and GOES-12 imager observations. The precipitation threat scores are increased by more than 50% after 3–6 h of model forecasts for 3-h rainfall thresholds exceeding 1.0 mm.

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Zhengkun Qin
,
Xiaolei Zou
, and
Fuzhong Weng

Abstract

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) provide high-resolution, temporally continuous imager radiance data over the West Coast (GOES-West currently known as GOES-11) and East Coast (GOES-East currently GOES-12) of the United States. Through a real case study, benefits of adding GOES-11/12 imager radiances to the satellite data streams in NWP systems for improved coastal precipitation forecasts are examined. The Community Radiative Transfer Model (CRTM) is employed for GOES imager radiance simulations in the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) gridpoint statistical interpolation (GSI) analysis system. The GOES imager radiances are added to conventional data for coastal quantitative precipitation forecast (QPF) experiments near the northern Gulf of Mexico and the derived precipitation threat score was compared with those from six other satellite instruments. It is found that the GOES imager radiance produced better precipitation forecasts than those from any other satellite instrument. However, when GOES imager radiance and six different types of satellite instruments are all assimilated, the score becomes much lower than the individual combination of GOES and any other instrument. Our analysis shows that an elimination of Advance Microwave Sounding Unit-B (AMSU-B)/Microwave Humidity Sounder (MHS) data over areas where GOES detects clouds significantly improved the forecast scores from AMSU-B/MHS data assimilation.

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Xiaolei Zou
,
Zhengkun Qin
, and
Fuzhong Weng

Abstract

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) imager provides observations that are of high spatial and temporal resolution and can be applied for effectively monitoring and nowcasting severe weather events. In this study, improved quantitative precipitation forecasts (QPFs) for three coastal storms over the northern Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast is demonstrated by assimilating GOES-11 and GOES-12 imager radiances into the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. Both the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation (GSI) analysis system and the Community Radiative Transfer Model (CRTM) are utilized to ingest GOES IR clear-sky data. Assimilation of GOES imager radiances during a 6–12-h time window prior to convective initiation and/or development could significantly improve the precipitation forecasts near the coast of the northern Gulf of Mexico. The 3-h accumulative precipitation threat scores are increased by about 20% after 6 h of model forecasts and more than 50% after 18–24 h of model forecasts. A detailed diagnosis of analysis fields and model forecast fields is carried out for one of the three convective precipitation events included in this study. It is shown that the assimilation of GOES data in regions of no or little clouds improved the model description of an upstream midlatitude trough and a subtropical high located in the south of the convection. The GOES observations located in the western part of land region covered by GOES within the latitude zone of 18°–37°N near 100°W contributed to a better forecast of the position of the eastward-propagating trough, while GOES observations over the Gulf of Mexico increased the amount of water vapor advection from the south into the convective region by the wind associated with the subtropical high. In the past, GOES imager radiances were not directly used in the GSI system. This study highlights the importance of satellite imagery information observed in the preconvective environment for improved cloud and precipitation forecasts. The developed data assimilation technique will prepare the NWP user community for accelerated use of advanced satellite data from the GOES-R series.

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