87th AMS Annual Meeting

Tuesday, 16 January 2007: 1:30 PM
4DVAR Assimilation of Lidar Data into Mesoscale Numerical Weather Prediction Models
207B (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
Hans-Stefan Bauer, Univ. of Hohenheim, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany; and M. Grzeschik, F. Zus, A. Behrendt, and V. Wulfmeyer
This contribution gives an overview about the status of 4-dimensional variational data assimilation (4DVAR) of lidar data and explains why 4DVAR is the most appropriate technique for this purpose, followed by the presentation of different examples of assimilation experiments, ranging from the assimilation of airborne water vapor DIAL observations with the LASE instruments during the IHOP_2002 campaign to the assimilation of ground based Raman lidar observations of temperature and water vapor mixing ratio during the LAUNCH_2005 and the PRINCE_2006 campaigns to an outlook to the COPS campaign taking place in summer 2007, where available lidar data shall be assimilated for the first time even in real-time. So far only vertical lidar profiles were considered but the slant observations of scanning lidar systems will be used for the assimilation in the near future, too.

The operational observation of the atmospheric water vapor field for the initialization of numerical weather prediction models is usually restricted to the standard radiosonde network. This includes typically 2 to 4 ascents per day in a network, where the stations are about 50 km apart from each other. Furthermore, the horizontal drift is usually not considered during the assimilation adding to the errors introduced bye the coarse spatial and temporal resolution. These systematic errors in the initial field are, apart from deficiencies in the physical parameterizations used, the main reason for forecast errors in general, and errors in quantitative precipitation forecasts (QPF) in particular.

State of the art lidar systems provide high-resolution and high accuracy observations of key atmospheric variables like temperature, water vapour content, and wind, especially in the important pre-convective environment. The observed quantities are very close to what is used by models, so that only little expense is necessary to process the raw data for the use in the model system. However, such temporally high-resolution observations pose certain demands to the used assimilation system. Recent results in nowcasting and short-range weather forecasting demonstrated that variational assimilation techniques in combination with high-resolution modeling is essential for optimising quantitative precipitation forecast (QPF) on the mesoscale.

Besides our lidar assimilation activities we also work on the assimilation of GPS slant-path measurements. Although the resolution is not as high as that of lidar systems, the spatial coverage of the GPS observations is much larger and they are not affected by clouds. Thus it is very interesting to compare the impact of assimilating the data of these different instruments.

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