Impact of Aeolus wind lidar observations on the representation of the West African monsoon circulation in the ECMWF and DWD forecasting systems

Maurus Borne (Korresp. Autor*in), Peter Knippertz, Martin Weissmann, Anne Martin, Michael Rennie, Alexander Cress

Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


Aeolus is the first satellite mission to acquire vertical profiles of horizontal line-of-sight winds globally and thus fills an important gap in the Global Observing System, most notably in the Tropics. This study explores the impact of this dataset on analyses and forecasts from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD), focusing specifically on the West African Monsoon (WAM) circulation during the boreal summers of 2019 and 2020. The WAM is notoriously challenging to forecast and is characterized by prominent and robust large-scale circulation features such as the African Easterly Jet North (AEJ-North) and Tropical Easterly Jet (TEJ). Assimilating Aeolus generally improves the prediction of zonal winds in both forecasting systems, especially for lead times above 24 h. These improvements are related to systematic differences in the representation of the two jets, with the AEJ-North weakened at its southern flank in the western Sahel in the ECMWF analysis, while no obvious systematic differences are seen in the DWD analysis. In addition, the TEJ core is weakened in the ECMWF analysis and strengthened on its southern edge in the DWD analysis. The regions where the influence of Aeolus on the analysis is greatest correspond to the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) region for ECMWF and generally the upper troposphere for DWD. In addition, we show the presence of an altitude- and orbit-dependent bias in the Rayleigh-clear channel, which causes the zonal winds to speed up and slow down diurnally. Applying a temperature-dependent bias correction to this channel contributes to a more accurate representation of the diurnal cycle and improved prediction of the WAM winds. These improvements are encouraging for future investigations of the influence of Aeolus data on African Easterly Waves and associated Mesoscale Convective Systems.

Seiten (von - bis)933-958
FachzeitschriftQuarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 1 Apr. 2023

ÖFOS 2012

  • 105206 Meteorologie