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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2011, Article ID 803593, 10 pages
Research Article

The Impact of Assimilating Atmospheric Infrared Sounder Observation on the Forecast of Typhoon Tracks

1Meteorological Satellite Center, Central Weather Bureau, Taipei 10048, Taiwan
2School for Engineering of Matter, Transport, and Energy, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA

Received 19 July 2011; Revised 3 November 2011; Accepted 30 November 2011

Academic Editor: Zhanqing Li

Copyright © 2011 Chien-Ben Chou and Huei-Ping Huang. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This work assesses the effects of assimilating atmospheric infrared sounder (AIRS) observations on typhoon prediction using the three-dimensional variational data assimilation (3DVAR) and forecasting system of the weather research and forecasting (WRF) model. Two major parameters in the data assimilation scheme, the spatial decorrelation scale and the magnitude of the covariance matrix of the background error, are varied in forecast experiments for the track of typhoon Sinlaku over the Western Pacific. The results show that within a wide parameter range, the inclusion of the AIRS observation improves the prediction. Outside this range, notably when the decorrelation scale of the background error is set to a large value, forcing the assimilation of AIRS data leads to degradation of the forecast. This illustrates how the impact of satellite data on the forecast depends on the adjustable parameters for data assimilation. The parameter-sweeping framework is potentially useful for improving operational typhoon prediction.