Recent advances in Global Positioning System (GPS) remote sensing technology allow for a direct estimation of the precipitable water vapor (PWV) from delayed signals transmitted by GPS satellites, which can be assimilated into numerical models with four-dimensional variational (4DVAR) data assimilation. A mesoscale model and its 4DVAR system are used to access the impacts of assimilating GPS-PWV and hourly rainfall observations on the short-range prediction of a heavy rainfall event on 20 June 2002. The heavy precipitation was induced by a sequence of meso-β-scale convective systems (MCS) along the mei-yu front in China. The experiments with GPS-PWV assimilation successfully simulated the ev olution of the observed MCS cluster and also eliminated the erroneous rainfall systems found in the experiment without 4DVAR assimilation. Experiments with hourly rainfall assimilation performed similarly both on the prediction of MCS initiation and the elimination of erroneous systems, however the MCS dissipated much sooner than it did in observations. It is found that the assimilation-induced moisture perturbation and mesoscale low-level jet are helpful for the MCS generation and development. It is also discovered that spurious gravity waves may post serious limitations for the current 4DVAR algorithm, which would degrade the assimilation efficiency, especially for rainfall data. Sensitivity experiments with different observations, assimilation windows and observation weightings suggest that assimilating GPS-PV;V can be quite effective, even with the assimilation window as short as 1 h. On the other hand, assimilating rainfall observations requires extreme cautions on the selection of observation weightings and the control of spurious gravity waves.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science