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A Comparison of the Impact of QuikScat and WindSat Wind Vector Products on Met Office Analyses and Forecasts

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3 Author(s)
Candy, B. ; Met Office, Exeter ; English, S.J. ; Keogh, S.J.

Several studies have demonstrated that retrievals of wind vectors from the WindSat polarimetric radiometer are of sufficient quality to be considered for assimilation in operational numerical weather prediction models. In this paper, WindSat data are used in a state-of-the-art global meteorological analysis and forecasting system. Each wind vector contains a directional ambiguity and so is assimilated in a similar way to that of scatterometer data. The forecast impact of using analyses containing information from WindSat data was investigated for a period during August and September of 2005, when a large number of tropical cyclones were present. Forecast errors were reduced in the surface pressure fields, and the average improvement across the forecast range was found to be 1.0%. This is comparable to the improvement of 1.1% found in the same fields when winds were assimilated from the QuikScat scatterometer. The impact on tropical cyclone tracks in the forecasts was also studied. The scatterometer improved (reduced) the track errors markedly by 25% in the analyses. When impacts across the forecast range out to five days were also included, the improvement was found to be 8%. In contrast, the assimilation of WindSat data improved the analysis track errors by 7%, although this figure was found to be 10% across the complete forecast range.

Published in:

Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:47 ,  Issue: 6 )