Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation (GSI) is an assimilation tool that is used at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) in operational weather forecasting in the USA. In this article, we describe implementation of an extension to the GSI for assimilating surface measurements of PM2.5, PM10, and MODIS aerosol optical depth at 550 nm with WRF-Chem (Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry). We also present illustrative results. In the past, the aerosol assimilation system has been employed to issue daily PM2.5 forecasts at NOAA/ESRL (Earth System Research Laboratory) and, we believe, it is well tested and mature enough to be made available for wider use. We provide a package that, in addition to augmented GSI, consists of software for calculating background error covariance statistics and for converting in situ and satellite data to BUFR (Binary Universal Form for the Representation of meteorological data) format, and sample input files for an assimilation exercise. Thanks to flexibility in the GSI and coupled meteorology–chemistry of WRF-Chem, assimilating aerosol observations can be carried out simultaneously with meteorological data assimilation. Both GSI and WRF-Chem are well documented with user guides available online. This article is primarily intended to be a technical note on the implementation of the aerosol assimilation. Its purpose is also to provide guidance for prospective users of the computer code. Scientific aspects of aerosol assimilation are also briefly discussed.
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