Simultaneous Assimilation of Planetary Boundary Layer Observations from Radar and All-Sky Satellite Observations to Improve Forecasts of Convection Initiation

Keenan C. Eure, Paul D. Mykolajtchuk, Yunji Zhang, David J. Stensrud, Fuqing Zhang, Steven J. Greybush, Matthew R. Kumjian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Accurate predictions of the location and timing of convection initiation (CI) remain a challenge, even in high-resolution convection-allowing models (CAMs). Many of the processes necessary for daytime CI are rooted in the planetary boundary layer (PBL), which numerical models struggle to accurately predict. To improve ensemble forecasts of the PBL and subsequent CI forecasts in CAM ensembles, we explore the use of underused data from both the GOES-16 satellite and the national network of WSR-88D radars. The GOES-16 satellite provides observations of brightness temperature (BT) to better analyze cloud structures, while the WSR-88D radars provide PBL height estimates and clear-air radial wind velocity observations to better analyze PBL structures. The CAM uses the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF-ARW) Model at 3-km horizontal grid spacing. The ensemble consists of 40 members and observations are assimilated using the Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation (GSI) ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) system. To evaluate the influence of each observation type on CI, conventional, WSR-88D, and GOES-16 observations are assimilated separately and jointly over a 4-h period and the resulting ensemble analyses and forecasts are compared with available observations for a CI event on 18 May 2018. Results show that the addition of the WSR-88D and GOES-16 observations improves the CI forecasts out several hours in terms of timing and location for this case.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)795-813
Number of pages19
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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