On some aspects of the impact of GPSRO observations in global numerical weather prediction

TitleOn some aspects of the impact of GPSRO observations in global numerical weather prediction
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2013
AuthorBonavita, M
Secondary TitleTechnical Memorandum

The impact of GPSRO observations on global Numerical Weather Prediction has been analysed with a recent version of the ECMWF Integrated Forecasting System. As in previous studies, the use of GPSRO was found to improve the NWP forecast skill and to drastically decrease model induced temperature biases in the analysis. The maximum forecast impact is in the middle and lower stratosphere, where the GPSRO observations have the smallest errors, but it is also visible in the troposphere. The tropospheric impact of GPSRO comes in part from direct tropospheric measurements and in part from stratosphere-troposphere interactions: This second mechanism is found to be particularly important during the northern hemisphere winter. The NWP forecast impact of GPSRO observations is compared with that of conventional (ATOVS) and hyperspectral satellite limb sounders. It is found that while GPSRO data have a smaller impact than those of either class of nadir sounders, they are still able to account for a considerable fraction (30% to 70%) of the global forecast error reduction afforded by the use of the full observing system over a system which only uses conventional observations. When forecast verification is performed against radiosonde observations, GPSRO is found to be the most valuable satellite observing system in the lower stratosphere. This is remarkable in view of the relative sparseness of the GPSRO spatial and temporal coverage and an indication of the potential improvements that a denser GPSRO observing network would be able to provide.