AIRS satellite data helped improve tropical cyclone forecasting

Our recent study indicated that using AIRS (Atmospheric Infrared Sounder) satellite data improved tropical cyclone forecasting significantly. AIRS, on board NASA's polar-orbiting spacecraft "Aqua", is an infrared sensor observing the Earth's radiation at different wavelengths and provides the horizontal and vertical structures of atmospheric temperature and moisture. The figure shows the observed track (black) of Typhoon Sinlaku (2008) and its forecasts initialized at 0600 UTC, September 12, 2008. Clearly, one of the forecasts shown by the red curve is closer to the black curve (observed). The red curve includes the AIRS data, while the blue curve does not.

It is widely known that satellite observations provide much information about atmospheric conditions. However, using satellite data effectively for weather forecasting is not a trivial task. Continuous efforts have been made to seek wiser use of satellite data for improving forecasts of significant weather. This study is a small step forward in this regard.

More details on this study can be found in our recent publication:
Miyoshi, T. and M. Kunii, 2012: Using AIRS retrievals in the WRF-LETKF system to improve regional numerical weather prediction. Tellus, 64A, 18408. doi:10.3402/tellusa.v64i0.18408