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Relative Short-range Forecast Impact From Aircraft, Profiler, Radiosonde, Vad, Gps-pw, Metar and Mesonet Observations Via The RUC Hourly Assimilation Cycle


An assessment is presented on the relative forecast impact on the performance of a numerical weather prediction (NWP) model from eight different observation data types (aircraft, profiler, radiosonde, VAD (velocity azimuth display), GPS precipitable water, METAR (surface), surface mesonet, and satellite-based AMVs (atmospheric motion vectors). A series of observation sensitivity experiments (OSEs) was conducted using the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) model/assimilation system in which various data sources were denied to assess the relative importance of the different data types for short-range (3-12h) wind, temperature, and relative humidity forecasts at different vertical levels and at the surface. These experiments were conducted for two 10-day periods, one in November-December 2006 and one in August 2007. These experiments show positive short-range forecast impacts from most of the contributors to the heterogeneous observing system over the RUC domain. In particular, aircraft observations had the largest overall impact for forecasts initialized 3-6 h before 0000 or 1200 UTC, considered over the full depth (1000-100 hPa), followed by radiosonde observations, even though the latter are available only every 12h. Profiler data, GPS-precipitable water estimates, and surface observations also led to significant improvements in short-range forecast skill.

Article / Publication Data
Available Metadata
Accepted On
September 29, 2009
Fiscal Year
Publication Name
Monthly Weather Review
Published On
April 01, 2010
Final Online Publication On
April 01, 2010
Publisher Name
Amer Meteorological Soc
Print Volume
Print Number
Page Range
Submitted On
June 15, 2009


Not available


Authors who have authored or contributed to this publication.