01 Mar 2022
01 Mar 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

An observation operator for geostationary lightning imager data assimilation in the French storm-scale numerical weather prediction system AROME

Pauline Combarnous1,2, Felix Erdmann3, Olivier Caumont1,4, Éric Defer2, and Maud Martet1 Pauline Combarnous et al.
  • 1CNRM, Université de Toulouse, Météo-France, CNRS, Toulouse, France
  • 2LAERO, Université de Toulouse, UT3, CNRS, IRD, Toulouse, France
  • 3Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium
  • 4Météo-France, Direction des opérations pour la prévision, Toulouse, France

Abstract. The Lightning Imager (LI) onboard the Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) satellites will provide total lightning observations continuously over Europe with a spatial resolution of a few kilometers. The objective of this study is to prepare the assimilation of the flash extent accumulation (FEA) measured by LI in the French storm-scale regional AROME NWP system within a new EnVar assimilation scheme, by developing a lightning observation operator. This study relies on pseudo LI FEA observations as LI on MTG is still to be launched in the end of 2022, meaning actual observations will be available by 2023. Since neither flashes nor the electric field are predicted by the AROME NWP system, the observation operator relies on proxy variables to link the flash observations to the prognostic variables of the NWP system. A total of 8 storm parameters were selected from a literature review to be used as proxies. Two different proxy types emerged from this literature review: microphysical and dynamical proxies. The proxies are calculated from 1 h AROME forecasts from the assimilation cycle. Machine learning regression models are used to relate observed FEA and the simulated proxies. The training of the observation operator is performed on a dataset of 44 days and 3 additional days are used for the validation. The data are processed as a climatology over the whole domain (i.e. France) and time period. The performances of each proxy are evaluated by computing Fraction Skill Scores (FSS) between observed FEA and proxy-based FEA. The present study suggests that microphysical proxies seem to be more suited than the dynamical ones to model satellite lightning observations with the AROME NWP system. The performances of multivariate regression models are also evaluated by combining several proxies after a feature selection based on a principal component analysis and a proxy correlation study but no proxies combination yielded better results than microphysical proxies alone. Results are also compared to those obtained with another lightning calibration, i.e., a relationship between lightning and proxies, from the literature but the simulated FEA amplitudes were systematically lower than the observed ones. Finally, different accumulation periods of the FEA had little influence, i.e., similar FSS, on the observation operator's ability to reproduce the observed FEA.

Pauline Combarnous et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2022-39', Colin Price, 02 Apr 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on nhess-2022-39', Eric Bruning, 05 Apr 2022

Pauline Combarnous et al.

Pauline Combarnous et al.


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Short summary
The objective of this study is to prepare the assimilation of satellite lightning data in the French regional numerical weather prediction system. The assimilation of lightning data requires an observation operator, based on empirical relationships between the lightning observations and a set of proxies derived from the numerical weather prediction system variables. We fit machine learning regression models to our data to yield those relationships and to investigate the best proxy for lightning.