The Nowcasting Satellite Application Facility (NWC SAF) cloud mask from the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellite is introduced in the initialization step of an hourly Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) of the High Resolution Limited Area Model (HIRLAM). MSG cloud-top temperatures and synoptic cloud-base height information are combined at analysis time. This cloud initialization scheme is applied to an experimental run, which is a copy of the operational Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute [Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut (KNMI)] RUC model. The experimental run was employed during the period June–December 2011. The RUC model has a forecast length of 6 h. Cloud cover forecasts are verified against MSG cloud cover information and synoptic observations. Forecasts of precipitation, surface pressure, 2-m temperature, and upper-air temperature are verified against synoptic observations and aircraft temperature observations. It is shown that including MSG cloud information in the RUC considerably improves the forecasts of most of these model fields, when compared to the operational control RUC. Both the bias and standard deviation of the errors of the cloud cover forecast are reduced substantially. Forecasts of light precipitation show a slight negative impact, but forecasts of heavy precipitation become better. The bias in 3D temperature fields disappears nearly completely. The error bias of 2-m temperatures has become larger. Two case studies are presented. The first case study had very good forecast performance with respect to low clouds when compared to the reference run. The second case study shows an ambiguous impact; there are still some deficiencies in the cloud initialization and cloud forecast when focusing on a single location.
S de Haan, SH van der Veen. Cloud Initialization in the Rapid Update Cycle of HIRLAM
published, Weather and Forecasting, 2014, 29