Evaluation of NCEP-CFSR, NCEP-NCAR, ERA-Interim, and ERA-40 reanalysis datasets against independent sounding observations over the Tibetan Plateau

Xinghua Bao, Fuqing Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

175 Scopus citations

Abstract

The NCEP-NCAR reanalysis, NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR), 40-yr ECMWF Re- Analysis (ERA-40), and interim ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-Interim) products are evaluated with sounding observations froman enhanced radiosonde network available every 6 h during the Tibetan Plateau Experiment (TIPEX) conducted from 10 May to 9 August 1998. This study uses more than 3000 high-quality, independent rawinsondes at 11 stations (which were not assimilated in any of the reanalyses), which represents the first time that such a comprehensive evaluation is performed to assess the quality of these fourmostwidely used reanalysis products over this region, which is highest in the world and crucial to the global climate and weather. Averaging over the entire three-month period, it is found that each reanalysis dataset produces mean values of temperature and horizontal winds consistent with the verifying soundings (indicating relatively small mean bias); however, there are considerable differences (biases) in the mean relative humidity.On average, except for temperature at higher levels, both newer-generation reanalyses (CFSR and ERA-Interim) have smaller rootmean- square (RMS) error and bias than their predecessors (NCEP-NCAR and ERA-40). With some exceptions, the RMS errors of all variables for both CFSR and ERA-Interim(verifying with soundings) are similar in magnitude to theRMS difference between these two reanalyses, all of which are approximately twice as large as the corresponding observation errors. It is also found that there are strong diurnal variations in bothRMS error and mean bias that differ greatly among different reanalyses and at different pressure levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-214
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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