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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 129642, 17 pages
Research Article

Impact of 3DVAR Data Assimilation on the Prediction of Heavy Rainfall over Southern China

1Laboratory of Cloud-Precipitation Physics and Severe Storms, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
2Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73072, USA
3Shenzhen Meteorological Bureau, Shenzhen 518040, China

Received 26 March 2013; Revised 16 June 2013; Accepted 12 July 2013

Academic Editor: Jidong Gao

Copyright © 2013 Tuanjie Hou et al. 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 study examines the impact of three-dimensional variational data assimilation (3DVAR) on the prediction of two heavy rainfall events over Southern China by using a real-time storm-scale forecasting system. Initialized from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) high-resolution data, the forecasting system is characterized by combining the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF-ARW) model and the Advanced Regional Prediction System (ARPS) 3DVAR package. Observations from Doppler radars, surface Automatic Weather Station (AWS) network, and radiosondes are used in the experiments to evaluate the impact of data assimilation on short-term quantitative precipitation forecast (QPF) skill. Results suggest that extrasurface AWS data assimilation has slight but general positive impact on rainfall location forecasts. Surface AWS data also improve model results of near-surface variables. Radiosonde data assimilation improves the QPF skill by improving rainfall position accuracy and reducing rainfall overprediction. Compared with radar data, the overall impact of additional surface and radiosonde data is smaller and is reflected primarily in reducing rainfall overestimation. The assimilation of all radar, surface, and radiosonde data has a more positive impact on the forecast skill than the assimilation of either type of data only for the two rainfall events.