Assimilation of radar-derived refractivity and radar data in the context of ensemble Kalman filter: Cases study of the Southwest Monsoon Experiment

Phuong Nghi Do, Kao Shen Chung, Ya Chien Feng, Pay Liam Lin, Bo An Tsai

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1 Scopus citations


Radar-derived refractivity provides moisture information near the surface, which plays a crucial role in convective initiation and of heavy rain. In this study, the high-resolution Weather Research and Forecasting local ensemble transform Kalman filter data assimilation system was employed for two cases in the Southwest Monsoon Experiment to conduct two experimental sets. The first set was applied in both cases to investigate the effects of assimilating radar-retrieved refractivity along with reflectivity and radial wind. The second set was conducted in the second case to examine the benefit of increasing the frequency of refractivity assimilation and investigate the optimal strategy to assimilate refractivity. Results of the two cases revealed that assimilating reflectivity and radial velocity modified near-surface humidity on the basis of the flow-dependent error correlation estimated by the ensemble, but the spatial distribution may not be fully accurate, causing underestimation of rainfall. With further refractivity assimilation, stronger convergence and more accurate low-level moisture, temperature, and wind field corrections were obtained, leading to superior forecasts for both light and heavy rainfall during six hours. The results of the second set indicated that increasing the assimilation interval of refractivity enabled capturing the dramatic moisture variation and enhancing wind convergence, resulting in short-term forecast improvement. The strategy that solely assimilated refractivity before the appearance of the convection system optimized the correction of environmental moisture, then accurately represented the humidity and strengthened the wind convergence when precipitation occurred. Consequently, the achieved improvement of the short-term forecast was most noteworthy, particularly for heavy rain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1365-1390
Number of pages26
JournalQuarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
Issue number753
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2023


  • data assimilation
  • heavy rainfall
  • mesoscale meteorology
  • radar-retrieved refractivity
  • short-term forecast


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