Assimilation of Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) Lightning Imager (LI) pseudo-observations in AROME-France - proof of concept

Erdmann, Felix ; Caumont, Olivier ; Defer, Eric

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<p align=justify>This study develops a lightning data assimilation (LDA) scheme for the regional, convection-permitting numerical weather prediction (NWP) model AROME-France. The LDA scheme intends to assimilate total lightning, i.e., cloud-to-ground (CG) and inter- and intra-cloud (IC), of the future Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) Lightning Imager (LI; MTG-LI). MTG-LI proxy data are created, and flash extent density (FED) fields are derived. An FED forward observation operator (FFO) is trained based on modeled, column-integrated graupel mass from 24 storm days in 2018. The FFO is successfully verified for 2 independent storm days. With the FFO, the LDA adapts a 1-dimensional Bayesian (1DBay) retrieval followed by a 3-dimensional variational (3DVar) assimilation approach that is currently run operationally in AROME-France for radar reflectivity data. The 1DBay retrieval derives relative humidity profiles from the background by comparing the FED observations to the FED inferred from the background. Retrieved relative humidity profiles are assimilated as sounding data. The evaluation of the LDA comprises different LDA experiments and four case studies. It is found that all LDA experiments can increase the background integrated water vapor (IWV) in regions where the observed FED exceeds the FED inferred from AROME-France outputs. In addition, IWV can be reduced where spurious FED is modeled. A qualitative analysis of 6 h accumulated rainfall fields reveals that the LDA is capable of locating and initiating some local precipitation fields better than a radar data assimilation (RDA) experiment. However, the LDA also leads to rainfall accumulations that are too high at some locations. Fractions skill scores (FSSs) of 6 h accumulated rainfall are overall similar for the developed LDA and RDA experiments. An approach aiming at mitigating effects due to differences in the optical extents of lightning flashes and the area of the corresponding cloud was developed and included in the LDA; however, it does not always improve the FSS.</p>
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