Impact of NOAA Ground-Based GPS Observations on the Canadian Regional Analysis and Forecast System

Macpherson, S. R.; Deblonde, G.; Aparicio, J. M.; Casati, B.
July 2008
Monthly Weather Review;Jul2008, Vol. 136 Issue 7, p2727
Academic Journal
Half-hourly GPS zenith tropospheric delay (ZTD) and collocated surface weather observations of pressure, temperature, and relative humidity are available in near–real time from the NOAA Global Systems Division (GSD) research GPS receiver network. These observations, located primarily over the continental United States, are assimilated in a research version of the Environment Canada (EC) regional (North America) analysis and forecast system. The impact of the assimilation on regional analyses and 0–48-h forecasts is evaluated for two periods: summer 2004 and winter 2004/05. Forecasts are verified against radiosonde, rain gauge, and NOAA GPS network observations. The impacts of GPS ZTD and collocated surface weather observations for the summer period are generally positive, and include reductions in forecast errors for precipitable water, surface pressure, and geopotential height. It is shown that the ZTD data are primarily responsible for these forecast error reductions. The impact on precipitation forecasts is mixed, but more positive than negative, especially for the central U.S. region and for forecasts of larger precipitation amounts. Assimilation of the collocated surface weather data with ZTD contributes to the positive impact on precipitation forecasts for the central U.S. region. The NOAA GPS network data also have a positive impact on tropical storm system forecasts over the southeast United States, in terms of both storm track and precipitation. Impacts for the winter case are generally smaller because of the lower precipitable water (PW) over North America, but some positive impacts are observed for precipitation forecasts. The greatest regional impacts in the winter case are observed for the southeast U.S. (the Gulf) region where average PW is highest.


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