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Home > Research > ESA Projects > EarthCARE >     

STSE (Support to Science Element) Study EarthCARE Assimilation


This project shall provide an extensive scientific exploration of assimilation potential of the EarthCARE (Earth, Clouds, Aerosols and Radiation Explorer) observations beneficial for the NWP (Numerical Weather Prediction) community in preparation for the future pre-operational use, which is presently not within the scope of EarthCARE’s process-oriented research objectives.

The EarthCARE mission, selected for implementation through collaboration of ESA (European Space Agency) and the JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), is a process-oriented Earth Explorer research mission with a very strong operational potential. The mission will carry four instruments for measuring clouds and aerosols simultaneously with outgoing broad-band radiances. The two core instruments are a cloud radar and a cloud-aerosol lidar for vertical profiling along the satellite nadir track.

The data from EarthCARE mission will present an unprecedented resource for information on cloud-radiation feedbacks useful for global (NWP and climate) model improvements and for directly constraining cloud physical state through data assimilation. This has been clearly demonstrated by the ESA funded project QuARL (Quantitative Assessment of the Operational Value of Space-Borne Radar and Lidar Measurements of Cloud and Aerosol Profiles) carried during 2009-2010 at ECMWF. The QuARL work on assimilating cloud radar and aerosol lidar observations has shown great potential for future operational exploitation.

The objective of STSE Study – EarthCARE assimilation is the development of an off-line data assimilation and monitoring system to exploit combined EarthCARE lidar and radar data for the assimilation of cloud data into an existing NWP models. This will include in particular the assimilation/monitoring system preparations as well as further improvements to the radar observation operator and the corresponding development of a new lidar operator.

Exploiting EarthCARE-type data through assimilation and monitoring will not only be beneficial for the NWP community by performing the necessary developments and scientific testing, but would furthermore demonstrate the operational potential for the EarthCARE mission.

The off-line systems for assimilation and monitoring developed during this project would allow extended research studies beneficial for future applications of EarthCARE radar and lidar data once available on the global scale. To accomplish this objective the following technical developments are required: (1) improvement of the radar observation operator, (2) development of the lidar observation operator, (3) generation of representativeness error statistics, (4) development of a bias correction, (5) construction of data selection tools (quality control and data screening). Further, all developments required for the cloud radar and lidar data ingestion by the ECMWF system and the adaptation of the variational data assimilation framework must be performed.

The testing of the system and the analysis of its performance through case studies will use CloudSat and CALIPSO (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation) data since these are currently the only available real data of similar type with global coverage.


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