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A major gap has historically existed in the global observing system because very few routine measurements of winds are made over the Arctic and Antarctic regions. This gap has been somewhat mitigated since the early 2000s with the routine retrieval of tropospheric winds in the polar regions by tracking cloud and water vapor features in Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data from the Terra and Aqua satellites. Model impact studies at the NASA Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) and ten other major numerical weather prediction centers have demonstrated a positive impact on global forecasts with the assimilation of the MODIS winds. Unfortunately, the era of MODIS polar winds will be limited to approximately the current decade as the Terra and Aqua satellites are already beyond their designed lifetimes. Therefore, a long-term record of satellite-derived polar winds will only be available using Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR)-like instruments, found on NOAA’s polar satellites and other future satellites. We propose to reprocess 27 years of AVHRR data to generate a polar winds dataset that can be used in reanalysis efforts. There is much interest in this dataset from the international retrospective modeling community. We will evaluate the impact of these polar winds by collaborating with the NASA GMAO to design short-term experiments using their reanalysis system. This will result in a high-quality retrospective dataset for use in future reanalysis efforts and a proven technique to derive and assimilate polar winds from the AVHRR that will take us through the next decade. This project addresses NASA Strategic Sub-goal 3A: Study Earth from space to advance scientific understanding and meet societal needs, and the following NASA Science Outcomes for this subgoal: 3A.2 Facilitate the use of satellite data used in improving the predictive capability for weather and extreme weather events.
Project PI: David Santek/University of Wisconsin-Madison
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