Accessibility navigation

How can existing ground-based profiling instruments improve European weather forecasts?

Illingworth, A. J., Cimini, D., Haefele, A., Haeffelin, M., Hervo, M., Kotthaus, S., Löhnert, U., Martinet, P., Mattis, I., O’Connor, E. J. and Potthast, R. (2019) How can existing ground-based profiling instruments improve European weather forecasts? Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. pp. 605-619. ISSN 0003-0007

Text - Accepted Version
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-D-17-0231.1


Observations of profiles of winds, aerosol, clouds, winds, temperature and humidity in the lowest few km of the atmosphere from networks of ceilometers, Doppler wind lidars and microwave radiometers are starting to flow in real time to forecasting centers in Europe. To realise the promise of improved predictions of hazardous weather such as flash floods, wind storms, fog and poor air quality from high-resolution mesoscale models, the forecast models must be initialized with an accurate representation of the current state of the atmosphere, but the lowest few km are hardly accessible by satellite, especially in dynamically-active conditions. We report on recent European developments in the exploitation of existing ground-based profiling instruments so that they are networked and able to send data in real-time to forecast centers. The three classes of instruments are: (i) Automatic lidars and ceilometers providing backscatter profiles of clouds, aerosols, dust, fog and volcanic ash, the last two being especially important for air traffic control; (ii) Doppler wind lidars deriving profiles of wind, turbulence, wind shear, wind-gusts and low-level jets; and (iii) Microwave radiometers estimating profiles of temperature and humidity in nearly all weather conditions. Twenty-two European countries and fifteen European National Weather Services are collaborating in the project, that involves the implementation of common operating procedures, instrument calibrations, data formats and retrieval algorithms. Currently, data from 220 ceilometers in 17 countries are being distributed in near real-time to national weather forecast centers; this should soon rise to many hundreds. The wind lidars should start delivering real time data in late 2018, and the plan is to incorporate the microwave radiometers in 2019. Initial data assimilation tests indicate a positive impact of the new data.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:82250
Publisher:American Meteorological Society


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation