Impacts of assimilating future phased array radar clear-air radial velocity observations on convection initiation forecasts.
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Impacts of assimilating future phased array radar clear-air radial velocity observations on convection initiation forecasts.

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  • Journal Title:
    Monthly Weather Review
  • Description:
    Phased-array radar (PAR) technology can potentially provide high-quality clear-air radial velocity observations at a high spatiotemporal resolution, usually ∼1 min or less. These observations are hypothesized to partially fill the gaps in current operational observing systems with relatively coarse-resolution surface mesonet observations and the lack of high-resolution upper-air observations especially in planetary boundary layer. In this study, observing system simulation experiments are conducted to investigate the potential value of assimilating PAR observations of clear-air radial velocity to improve the forecast of convection initiation (CI) along small-scale boundary layer convergence zones. Both surface-based and elevated CIs driven by meso-γ-scale boundary layer convergence are tested. An ensemble Kalman filter method is used to assimilate synthetic surface mesonet observations and PAR clear-air radial velocity observations. Results show that assimilating only surface mesonet observations fails to predict either surface-based or elevated CI processes. Assimilating clear-air radial velocity observations in addition to surface mesonet observations can capture both surface-based and elevated CI processes successfully. Such an improvement benefits from the better analyses of boundary layer convergence, resulting from the assimilation of clear-air radial velocity observations. Additional improvement is observed with more frequent assimilation. Assimilating clear-air radial velocity observations only from the one radar results in analysis biases of cross-beam winds and CI location biases, and assimilating additional radial velocity observations from the second radar at an appropriate position can reduce these biases while sacrificing the CI timing. These results suggest the potential of assimilating clear-air radial velocity observations from PAR to improve the forecast of CI processes along boundary layer convergence zones.
  • Source:
    Monthly Weather Review, 150(7), 1563-1583
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