Article ID: 2019-064
The Tibetan Plateau (TP) and the atmospheric conditions over it strongly affect downstream regional weather. Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-A (AMSU-A) brightness temperature observations provide temperature sounding information and have been long assimilated successfully for numerical weather prediction. AMSU-A brightness temperatures observed from the polar-orbiting NOAA-15 and -18 satellites in July and August 2016 were collected. During these months, the equator crossing time of these particular satellites was around 0600 local time. Observations collected within the three-hour periods centered at 0000 UTC and 1200 UTC, covering the TP, were assimilated. The weighting coefficients for mid-tropospheric AMSU-A channels 6 and 7 were significantly reduced over areas with terrain heights greater than 2 km and 4 km, respectively, in the National Centers for Environmental Prediction Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation system. The assimilation of AMSU-A observations was improved to better exploit the role of AMSU-A channels 6 and 7 over the TP. This was achieved by not decreasing the weighting coefficients of the two channels over the grassy surface of the TP’s high terrain so that they were consistent with the inverse error variances. This modification produced larger positive impacts of satellite data assimilation on the 48-h forecasts of the mid-tropospheric trough, water vapor, and quantitative precipitation forecasts downstream of the TP. This study also suggests the importance of having AMSU-A observations from early-morning satellite orbits for numerical weather prediction downstream of the TP.