Mesoscale Cloud State Estimation from Visible and Infrared Satellite Radiances

Vukicevic, T.; Greenwald, T.; Zupanski, M.; Zupanski, D.; Vonder Haar, T.; Jones, A. S.
December 2004
Monthly Weather Review;Dec2004, Vol. 132 Issue 12, p3066
Academic Journal
This study focuses on cloudy atmosphere state estimation from high-resolution visible and infrared satellite remote sensing measurements and a mesoscale model with explicit cloud prediction. The cloud state is defined as 3D spatially distributed hydrometeors characterized with microphysical properties: mixing ratio, number concentration, and size distribution. The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-9 (GOES-9) imager visible and infrared measurements were used in a new four-dimensional variational data assimilation (4DVAR) mesoscale algorithm for a warm continental stratus cloud system case to test the impact of these observations on the cloud simulation. The new data assimilation algorithm includes the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) with explicit cloud state prediction, the associated adjoint system, and an observational operator for forward and adjoint integrations of the GOES radiances. The results show positive impact of GOES imager measurements on the 3D cloud short-term simulation during and after the assimilation. The impact was achieved through sensitivity of the radiances to the cloud droplet mixing ratio at observation time and a 4D correlation between the cloud and atmospheric thermal and dynamical environment in the forecast model. The dynamical response to the radiance observations was through enhanced large mesoscale vertical mixing while horizontal advection was weak in the case of stable continental stratus evolution. Although the current experiments show measurable positive impact of the cloudy radiance measurements on the stratus cloud simulation, they clearly suggest the need to further address the problem of negative cloud cover forecast errors. These errors were only weakly corrected in the current study because of the small sensitivity of the visible and infrared window radiances to the cloud-free atmosphere.


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