Articles | Volume 10, issue 6
10 Jun 2010
 | 10 Jun 2010

Screen-level non-GTS data assimilation in a limited-area mesoscale model

M. Milelli, M. Turco, and E. Oberto

Abstract. The forecast in areas of very complex topography, as for instance the Alpine region, is still a challenge even for the new generation of numerical weather prediction models which aim at reaching the km-scale. The problem is enhanced by a general lack of standard observations, which is even more evident over the southern side of the Alps. For this reason, it would be useful to increase the performance of the mathematical models by locally assimilating non-conventional data. Since in ARPA Piemonte there is the availability of a great number of non-GTS stations, it has been decided to assimilate the 2 m temperature, coming from this dataset, in the very-high resolution version of the COSMO model, which has a horizontal resolution of about 3 km, more similar to the average resolution of the thermometers. Four different weather situations have been considered, ranging from spring to winter, from cloudy to clear sky. The aim of the work is to investigate the effects of the assimilation of non-GTS data in order to create an operational very high-resolution analysis, but also to test the option of running in the future a very short-range forecast starting from these analyses (RUC or Rapid Update Cycle). The results, in terms of Root Mean Square Error, Mean Error and diurnal cycle of some surface variables such as 2 m temperature, 2 m relative humidity and 10 m wind intensity show a positive impact during the assimilation cycle which tends to dissipate a few hours after the end of it. Moreover, the 2 m temperature assimilation has a slightly positive or neutral impact on the vertical profiles of temperature, eventhough some calibration is needed for the precipitation field which is too much perturbed during the assimilation cycle, while it is unaffected in the forecast period. So the stability of the planetary boundary layer, on the one hand, has not been particularly improved by the new-data assimilation, but, on the other hand, it has not been destroyed. It has to be pointed out that a correct description of the planetary boundary layer, even only the lowest part of it, could be helpful to the forecasters and, in general, to the users, in order to deal with meteorological hazards such as snow (in particular snow/rain limit definition), or fog (description of temperature inversions).