Lidar-Measured Wind Profiles: The Missing Link in the Global Observing System

Baker, Wayman E.; Atlas, Robert; Cardinali, Carla; Clement, Amy; Emmitt, George D.; Gentry, Bruce M.; Hardesty, R. Michael; Källén, Erland; Kavaya, Michael J.; Langland, Rolf; Ma, Zaizhong; Masutani, Michiko; McCarty, Will; Pierce, R. Bradley; Pu, Zhaoxia; Riishojgaard, Lars Peter; Ryan, James; Tucker, Sara; Weissmann, Martin; Yoe, James G.
April 2014
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society;Apr2014, Vol. 95 Issue 4, p543
Academic Journal
The three-dimensional global wind field is the most important remaining measurement needed to accurately assess the dynamics of the atmosphere. Wind information in the tropics, high latitudes, and stratosphere is particularly deficient. Furthermore, only a small fraction of the atmosphere is sampled in terms of wind profiles. This limits our ability to optimally specify initial conditions for numerical weather prediction (NWP) models and our understanding of several key climate change issues. Because of its extensive wind measurement heritage (since 1968) and especially the rapid recent technology advances, Doppler lidar has reached a level of maturity required for a space-based mission. The European Space Agency (ESA)'s Atmospheric Dynamics Mission Aeolus (ADM-Aeolus) Doppler wind lidar (DWL), now scheduled for launch in 2015, will be a major milestone. This paper reviews the expected impact of DWL measurements on NWP and climate research, measurement concepts, and the recent advances in technology that will set the stage for space-based deployment. Forecast impact experiments with actual airborne DWL measurements collected over the North Atlantic in 2003 and assimilated into the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) operational model are a clear indication of the value of lidar-measured wind profiles. Airborne DWL measurements collected over the western Pacific in 2008 and assimilated into both the ECMWF and U.S. Navy operational models support the earlier findings. These forecast impact experiments confirm observing system simulation experiments (OSSEs) conducted over the past 25-30 years. The addition of simulated DWL wind observations in recent OSSEs performed at the Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation (JCSDA) leads to a statistically significant increase in forecast skill.


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