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Climate and environmental Monitoring with GPS Atmospheric Profiling.

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Regional weather prediction with space data

Major international centres have made steady progress in fulfilling their functions and responsibilities with increasing skill in the field of weather prediction. A rather new field of activity is atmospheric profiling, based on the global navigation positioning satellites (GPS). A prototype system has been developed that is able to easily process all intermediate steps between the extractions of raw data and derivation of atmospheric profiles of physical parameters for a reliable regional weather forecast.

Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment

Meteorological satellites carrying appropriate instrumentation have been extensively used for observing the planet’s weather phenomena and monitoring its climate. As science and technology advance, new weather prediction models and their outputs have become indispensable tools for modern weather and climate forecasting from short, medium to long-range seasonal scales. While global modelling requires considerable computing power mainly for data assimilation and pre-processing functions, regional models and limited domain models, using boundary conditions from global models, can now be run on workstations and PC platforms for operational weather forecasting and research. A new prototype system with the capability of processing all the necessary steps from handling the raw satellite data to producing the atmospheric profiles of pressure, temperature and humidity has been developed. These atmospheric profiles can be easily introduced to the running of multi-level regional and limited area numerical prediction models. Thus facilities are enhanced in terms of operational capacities using models with boundary conditions and a low-cost platform to support issuance of forecasts tailored to meet user needs and more detailed, more accurate forecasts of severe weather events, such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, tropical cyclones. The system uses semi-automatic end-to end radio occultation measurements in a processing chain for deriving density, temperature and humidity profiles that are further assimilated into the regional numerical weather prediction models with the aid of specially designed tools. Due to their global distribution, a sufficient number of such occultation measurements is expected to improve the atmospheric predictability, and consequently numerical weather prediction models, as well as the climate monitoring. The software developed has been validated with data coming from different satellites. Furthermore, the impact of GPS profiles on the weather prediction has been extensively studied. Recent severe weather events in different parts of the world, either associated with strong El Niño-southern oscillation events or other global trends have drawn attention to the need for meteorological services to enhance their capacity and skill to monitor and predict severe weather and climate events. This particular system is expected to contribute substantially to both climatology and meteorology for new weather prediction. Through early detection, the new weather prediction models offer improved community preparation with an action plan that responds to the threat of all types of severe weather, focusing on the sustainable social-economic development of topical regions.

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