Assimilation of SSM/I Radiances in the NCEP Global Data Assimilation System

Okamoto, Kozo; Derber, John C.
September 2006
Monthly Weather Review;Sep2006, Vol. 134 Issue 9, p2612
Academic Journal
A technique for the assimilation of Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) data in the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) global data assimilation and forecast system is described. Because the radiative transfer model used does not yet allow for cloud/rain effects, it is crucial to properly identify and exclude (or correct) cloud/rain-contaminated radiances using quality control (QC) and bias correction procedures. The assimilation technique is unique in that both procedures take into account the effect of the liquid cloud on the difference between observed and simulated brightness temperature for each SSM/I channel. The estimate of the total column cloud liquid water from observed radiances is used in a frequency-dependent cloud detection component of the QC and as a predictor in the bias correction algorithm. Also, a microwave emissivity Jacobian model with respect to wind speed is developed for oceanic radiances. It was found that the surface wind information in the radiance data can be extracted through the emissivity model Jacobian rather than producing and including a separate SSM/I wind speed retrieval. A two-month-long data assimilation experiment from July to August 2004 using NCEP’s Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation analysis system and the NCEP operational forecast model was performed. In general, the assimilation of SSM/I radiance has a significant positive impact on the analyses and forecasts. Moisture is added in the Northern Hemisphere and Tropics and is slightly reduced in the Southern Hemisphere. The moisture added appears to be slightly excessive in the Tropics verified against rawinsonde observations. Nevertheless, the assimilation of SSM/I radiance data reduces model spinup of precipitation and substantially improves the dynamic fields, especially in measures of the vector wind error at 200 hPa in the Tropics. In terms of hurricane tracks, SSM/I radiance assimilation produces more cases with smaller errors and reduces the average error. No disruption of the Hadley circulation is found from the introduction of the SSM/I radiance data.


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