Over the last years the processing of ERS scatterometer winds has been refined. Subsequently, High Resolution Limited Area Model, HIRLAM, and ECMWF model data assimilation experiments have been carried out to assess the impact of one scatterometer, ERS-1 and of two scatterometers, ERS-1 and ERS-2, on the analyses and forecasts. We found that scatterometer winds have a clear and beneficial impact in the data assimilation cycle and on the forecasts. Furthermore, ECMWF has shown that ERS scatterometer data improve the prediction of tropical cyclones in 4Dvar, where unprecedented skillful medium-range forecasts result of potential large social-economic value. Nevertheless, scatterometer winds contain much sub-synoptic scale information where the smallest scales resolved are difficult to assimilate into a Numerical Weather Prediction, NWP, model. This is mainly due to the otherwise general sparsity of the observing system over the ocean. In line with this it is found that scatterometer data coverage is very important for obtaining a large impact. In that respect future scatterometer systems such as SeaWinds on QuikSCAT and ADEOSII, and ASCAT on EPS are promising.
Filed under Keywords:
ASCAT, Scatterometer, Assimilation, 4DVAR, NWP, SeaWinds, QuikSCAT, ADEOSII, EPS