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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2015, Article ID 956920, 16 pages
Research Article

An Assessment of Data from the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder at the Met Office

Met Office, Fitzroy Road, Exeter EX1 3PB, UK

Received 19 December 2014; Revised 4 February 2015; Accepted 18 February 2015

Academic Editor: Yuanfu Xie

Copyright © 2015 Amy Doherty 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.


An appraisal of the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) for use in numerical weather prediction (NWP) is presented, including an assessment of the data quality, the impact on Met Office global forecasts in preoperational trials, and a summary of performance over a period of 17 months operational use. After remapping, the noise performance (NEΔT) of the tropospheric temperature sounding channels is evaluated to be approximately 0.1 K, comparing favourably with AMSU-A. However, the noise is not random, differences between observations and simulations based on short-range forecast fields show a spurious striping effect, due to 1/f noise in the receiver. The amplitude of this signal is several tenths of a Kelvin, potentially a concern for NWP applications. In preoperational tests, adding ATMS data to a full Met Office system already exploiting data from four microwave sounders improves southern hemisphere mean sea level pressure forecasts in the 2- to 5-day range by 1-2%. In operational use, where data from five other microwave sounders is assimilated, forecast impact is typically between −0.05 and −0.1 J/kg (3.4% of total mean impact per day over the period 1 April to 31 July 2013). This suggests benefits beyond redundancy, associated with reducing already small analysis errors.