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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2015, Article ID 427616, 13 pages
Research Article

Using Adjoint-Based Forecast Sensitivity Method to Evaluate TAMDAR Data Impacts on Regional Forecasts

1National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80301, USA
2Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC), University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20740, USA
3Cooperative Institutes for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
4Centre for Climate Research Singapore, Meteorological Service Singapore, Singapore
5Panasonic Avionics Corporation, Morrisville, NC 27560, USA

Received 7 October 2014; Accepted 22 December 2014

Academic Editor: Guijun Han

Copyright © 2015 Xiaoyan Zhang 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 evaluates the impact of Tropospheric Airborne Meteorological Data Reporting (TAMDAR) observations on regional 24-hour forecast error reduction over the Continental United States (CONUS) domain using adjoint-based forecast sensitivity to observation (FSO) method as the diagnostic tool. The relative impact of TAMDAR observations on reducing the forecast error was assessed by conducting the WRFDA FSO experiments for two two-week-long periods, one in January and one in June 2010. These experiments assimilated operational TAMDAR data and other conventional observations, as well as GPS refractivity (GPSREF). FSO results show that rawinsonde soundings (SOUND) and TAMDAR exhibit the largest observation impact on 24 h WRF forecast, followed by GeoAMV, aviation routine weather reports (METAR), GPSREF, and synoptic observations (SYNOP). At 0000 and 1200 UTC, TAMDAR has an equivalent impact to SOUND in reducing the 24-hour forecast error. However, at 1800 UTC, TAMDAR has a distinct advantage over SOUND, which has the sparse observation report at these times. In addition, TAMDAR humidity observations at lower levels of the atmosphere (700 and 850 hPa) have a significant impact on 24 h forecast error reductions. TAMDAR and SOUND observations present a qualitatively similar observation impact between FSO and Observation System Experiments (OSEs).