Impact of Assimilating Radar Data with 3D Thermodynamic Fields in an Ensemble Kalman Filter: Proof of Concept and Feasibility

Chieh Ying Ke, Kao Shen Chung, Yu Chieng Liou, Chih Chien Tsai

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1 Scopus citations


This study examined the impact of assimilating 3D temperature and water vapor information in addition to radar observations in a multiscale weather system. A frontal system with extremely heavy rainfall over northern Taiwan was selected. Using the WRF–LETKF Radar Assimilation System, we performed three sets of observing system simulation experiments to assimilate radar observations with or without thermodynamic variables obtained using different methods. First, assimilating the radar data for 2 h showed better structure and short-term forecast than 1 h. Second, we assimilated radar data and thermodynamic variables from a perfect model simulation. The results of the analysis revealed that when a precipitation position error occurred in the background field, assimilating thermodynamic information with the radar data could correct the dynamic structure and shorten the spinup assimilation period, resulting in substantial improvements to the quantitative precipitation forecast. Third, we applied a thermodynamics retrieval algorithm for a feasibility study. With a warm and wet bias of the retrieved fields, assimilating the temperature data had significant impact on the midlevel of stratiform areas and the forecast of the heavy rainfall was consequently improved. Assimilating the water vapor information helped reconstruct the range and intensity of the cold pool, but the improvement of rainfall forecast was limited. The optimal results of analysis and short-term forecast were achieved when both retrieved temperature and water vapor fields were assimilated. In conclusion, assimilating thermodynamic variables in the precipitation system is feasible for shortening the spinup period of data assimilation and improving the analysis and short-term forecast.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3251-3273
Number of pages23
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Convective storms/systems
  • Data assimilation
  • Mesoscale forecasting
  • Radars/radar observations
  • Rainfall


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