How Strong is the Case for Geostationary Hyperspectral Sounders?

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Daniel B Kirk-Davidoff, MDA Information Systems, Gaithersburg, MD, United States; University of Maryland College Park, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, College Park, MD, United States, Zhiquan Liu, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Mesoscale & Microscale Meteorology Division, Boulder, CO, United States, Scott Jensen, USTAR, Advanced Weather Systems Foundation, Salt Lake City, UT, United States and Erin Housley, Tempus Global Data, Ogden, UT, United States
The NASA GIFTS program designed and constructed a flight-ready hyperspectral infrared sounder for geostationary orbit. Efforts are now underway to launch a constellation of similar instruments. Salient characteristics included 4 km spatial resolution at nadir and 0.6 cm-1 spectral resolution in two infrared bands. Observing system experiments have demonstrated the success of assimilated hyperspectral infrared radiances from IASI and AIRS in improving weather forecast skill. These results provide circumstantial evidence that additional observations at higher spatial and temporal resolution would likely improve forecast skill further. However, there is only limited work investigating the magnitude of this skill improvement in the literature. Here we present a systematic program to quantify the additional skill of a constellation of geostationary hyperspectral sounders through observing system simulation experiments (OSSEs) using the WRF model and the WRFDA data assimilation system.

The OSSEs will focus first on high-impact events, such as the forecast for Typhoon Haiyun, but will also address quotidian synoptic forecast skill. The focus will be on short-term forecast skill (<24 hours lead time), in accord with WRF’s mesoscale design, and with the view that high time frequency observations are likely to make the biggest impact on the skill of short-range forecasts. The experiments will use as their starting point the full existing observational suite, so that additionality can be addressed, but will also consider contingencies, such as the loss of particular elements of the existing system, as well as the degree to which a stand-alone system of hyperspectral sounds would be able to successfully initialize a regional forecast model. A variety of settings, tropical and extratropical, marine and continental will be considered.