Four-Dimensional Variational Assimilation of Water Vapor Differential Absorption Lidar Data: The First Case Study within IHOP_2002

Wulfmeyer, Volker; Bauer, Hans-Stefan; Grzeschik, Matthias; Behrendt, Andreas; Vandenberghe, Francois; Browell, Edward V.; Ismail, Syed; Ferrare, Richard A.
January 2006
Monthly Weather Review;Jan2006, Vol. 134 Issue 1, p209
Academic Journal
Four-dimensional variational assimilation of water vapor differential absorption lidar (DIAL) data has been applied for investigating their impact on the initial water field for mesoscale weather forecasting. A case that was observed during the International H2O Project (IHOP_2002) has been selected. During 24 May 2002, data from the NASA Lidar Atmospheric Sensing Experiment were available upstream of a convective system that formed later along the dryline and a cold front. Tools were developed for routinely assimilating water vapor DIAL data into the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–NCAR Mesoscale Model (MM5). The results demonstrate a large impact on the initial water vapor field. This is due to the high resolution and accuracy of DIAL data making the observation of the high spatial variability of humidity in the region of the dryline and of the cold front possible. The water vapor field is mainly adjusted by a modification of the atmospheric wind field changing the moisture transport. A positive impact of the improved initial fields on the spatial/temporal prediction of convective initiation is visible. The results demonstrate the high value of accurate, vertically resolved mesoscale water vapor observations and advanced data assimilation systems for short-range weather forecasting.


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