Assimilation of total lightning data using the three-dimensional variational method at convection-allowing resolution
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A large number of observational analyses have shown that lightning data can be used to indicate areas of deep convection. It is important to assimilate observed lightning data into numerical models, so that more small-scale information can be incorporated to improve the quality of the initial condition and the subsequent forecasts. In this study, the empirical relationship between flash rate, water vapor mixing ratio, and graupel mixing ratio was used to adjust the model relative humidity, which was then assimilated by using the three-dimensional variational data assimilation system of the Weather Research and Forecasting model in cycling mode at 10-min intervals. To find the appropriate assimilation time-window length that yielded significant improvement in both the initial conditions and subsequent forecasts, four experiments with different assimilation time-window lengths were conducted for a squall line case that occurred on 10 July 2007 in North China. It was found that 60 min was the appropriate assimilation time-window length for this case, and longer assimilation window length was unnecessary since no further improvement was present. Forecasts of 1-h accumulated precipitation during the assimilation period and the subsequent 3-h accumulated precipitation were significantly improved compared with the control experiment without lightning data assimilation. The simulated reflectivity was optimal after 30 min of the forecast, it remained optimal during the following 42 min, and the positive effect from lightning data assimilation began to diminish after 72 min of the forecast. Overall, the improvement from lightning data assimilation can be maintained for about 3 h.
Key wordslightning data assimilation three-dimensional variational (3DVAR) method Wether Research and Forecasting (WRF) model
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