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An evaluation of the potential of polarimetric radiometry for numerical weather prediction using QuikSCAT

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6 Author(s)

It has been proposed that wind vector information derived from passive microwave radiometry may provide an impact on numerical weather forecasts of similar magnitude to that achieved by scatterometers. Polarimetric radiometers have a lower sensitivity to wind direction than scatterometers at low wind speed but comparable sensitivity at high windspeed. In this paper, we describe an experiment which aimed to determine if an observing system only capable of providing wind direction information at wind speeds over 8 ms-1 can provide comparable impact to one providing wind vectors at wind speeds over 2 ms-1. The QuikSCAT dataset used in the experiments has a wide swath and is used operationally by several forecast centers. The results confirm that assimilation of wind vectors from QuikSCAT only for wind speeds above 8 ms-1 gives similar analysis increments and forecast impacts to assimilating wind vectors at all wind speeds above 2 ms-1. Measurements from the WindSat five frequency polarimetric radiometer are compared with calculations from Met Office global forecast fields, and this also confirms that WindSat measurement and radiative transfer model accuracy appears to be sufficiently good to provide useful information for numerical weather prediction.

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:44 ,  Issue: 3 )