This study explores the benefits of assimilating infrared (IR) brightness temperature (BT) observations from geostationary satellites jointly with radial velocity (Vr) and reflectivity (Z) observations from Doppler weather radars within an ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) data assimilation system to the convection-allowing ensemble analysis and prediction of a tornadic supercell thunderstorm event on 12 June 2017 across Wyoming and Nebraska. While radar observations sample the three-dimensional storm structures with high fidelity, BT observations provide information about clouds prior to the formation of precipitation particles when instorm radar observations are not yet available and also provide information on the environment outside the thunderstorms. To better understand the strengths and limitations of each observation type, the satellite and Doppler radar observations are assimilated separately and jointly, and the ensemble analyses and forecasts are compared with available observations. Results show that assimilating BT observations has the potential to increase the forecast and warning lead times of severe weather events compared with radar observations and may also potentially complement the sparse surface observations in some regions as revealed by the probabilistic prediction of mesocyclone tracks initialized from EnKF analyses as various times. Additionally, the assimilation of both BT and Vr observations yields the best ensemble forecasts, providing higher confidence, improved accuracy, and longer lead times on the probabilistic prediction of midlevel mesocyclones.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science