Improvement of numerical weather prediction model analysis during fog conditions through the assimilation of ground-based microwave radiometer observations: a 1D-Var study

Martinet, Pauline ; Cimini, Domenico ; Burnet, Frédéric ; Ménétrier, Benjamin ; Michel, Yann ; Unger, Vinciane

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<p align=justify>This paper investigates the potential benefit of ground-based microwave radiometers (MWRs) to improve the initial state (analysis) of current numerical weather prediction (NWP) systems during fog conditions. To this end, temperature, humidity and liquid water path (LWP) retrievals have been performed by directly assimilating brightness temperatures using a one-dimensional variational technique (1D-Var). This study focuses on a fog-dedicated field-experiment performed over winter 2016-2017 in France. In situ measurements from a 120 m tower and radiosoundings are used to assess the improvement brought by the 1D-Var analysis to the background. A sensitivity study demonstrates the importance of the cross-correlations between temperature and specific humidity in the background-error-covariance matrix as well as the bias correction applied on MWR raw measurements. With the optimal 1D-Var configuration, root-mean-square errors smaller than 1.5 K (respectively 0.8 K) for temperature and 1 g kg−1 (respectively 0.5 g kg−1) for humidity are obtained up to 6 km altitude (respectively within the fog layer up to 250 m). A thin radiative fog case study has shown that the assimilation of MWR observations was able to correct large temperature errors of the AROME (Application of Research to Operations at MEsoscale) model as well as vertical and temporal errors observed in the fog life cycle. A statistical evaluation through the whole period has demonstrated that the largest impact when assimilating MWR observations is obtained on the temperature and LWP fields, while it is neutral to slightly positive for the specific humidity. Most of the temperature improvement is observed during false alarms when the AROME forecasts tend to significantly overestimate the temperature cooling. During missed fog profiles, 1D-Var analyses were found to increase the atmospheric stability within the first 100 m above the surface compared to the initial background profile. Concerning the LWP, the RMSE with respect to MWR statistical regressions is decreased from 101 g m−2 in the background to 27 g m−2 in the 1D-Var analysis. These encouraging results led to the deployment of eight MWRs during the international SOFOG3D (SOuth FOGs 3D experiment for fog processes study) experiment conducted by Météo-France.</p>
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