18th Conference on Weather and Forecasting, 14th Conference on Numerical Weather Prediction, and Ninth Conference on Mesoscale Processes

Tuesday, 31 July 2001
Assimilation of GOES Land Surface Data into Mesoscale Models
William M. Lapenta, NASA/MSFC NSSTC, Huntsville, AL; and R. Suggs, R. T. McNider, G. Jedlovec, and S. R. Dembek
A technique has been developed for assimilating GOES-derived skin temperature tendencies and insolation into the surface energy budget equation of a mesoscale model so that the simulated rate of temperature change closely agrees with the satellite observations. A critical assumption of the technique is that the availability of moisture (either from the soil or vegetation) is the least known term in the model's surface energy budget. Therefore, the simulated latent heat flux, which is a function of surface moisture availability, is adjusted based upon differences between the modeled and satellite-observed skin temperature tendencies. An advantage of this technique is that satellite temperature tendencies are assimilated in an energetically consistent manner that avoids energy imbalances and surface stability problems that arise from direct assimilation of surface shelter temperatures. The fact that the rate of change of the satellite skin temperature is used rather than the absolute temperature means that sensor calibration is not as critical.

The assimilation technique has been applied to the Oklahoma-Kansas region during the spring-summer 2000 time period when dynamic changes in vegetation cover occur. In April, central Oklahoma is characterized by large NDVI associated with winter wheat while surrounding areas are primarily rangeland with lower NDVI. In July the vegetation pattern reverses as the central wheat area changes to low NDVI due to harvesting and the surrounding rangeland is greener than it was in April. The goal of this study is to determine if assimilating satellite land surface data can improve simulation of the complex spatial distribution of surface energy and water fluxes across this region.

The PSU/NCAR MM5 V3 system is used in this study. The grid configuration consists of a 36-km CONUS domain and a 12-km nest over the area of interest. Bulk verification statistics (BIAS and RMSE) of surface air temperature and dewpoint indicates that assimilation of the satellite data results reduces both the bias and RMSE for both state variables. In addition, comparison of model data with ARM/CART EBBR flux observations reveals that the assimilation technique adjusts the bowen ratio in a realistic fashion.

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