High-resolution, ground-based and independent observations including co-located wind radiometer, lidar stations, and infrasound instruments are used to evaluate the accuracy of general circulation models and data-constrained assimilation systems in the middle atmosphere at northern hemisphere midlatitudes. Systematic comparisons between observations, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) operational analyses including the recent Integrated Forecast System cycles 38r1 and 38r2, the NASA's Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) reanalyses, and the free-running climate Max Planck Institute–Earth System Model–Low Resolution (MPI-ESM-LR) are carried out in both temporal and spectral domains. We find that ECMWF and MERRA are broadly consistent with lidar and wind radiometer measurements up to ~40 km. For both temperature and horizontal wind components, deviations increase with altitude as the assimilated observations become sparser. Between 40 and 60 km altitude, the standard deviation of the mean difference exceeds 5 K for the temperature and 20 m/s for the zonal wind. The largest deviations are observed in winter when the variability from large-scale planetary waves dominates. Between lidar data and MPI-ESM-LR, there is an overall agreement in spectral amplitude down to 15–20 days. At shorter time scales, the variability is lacking in the model by ~10 dB. Infrasound observations indicate a general good agreement with ECWMF wind and temperature products. As such, this study demonstrates the potential of the infrastructure of the Atmospheric Dynamics Research Infrastructure in Europe project that integrates various measurements and provides a quantitative understanding of stratosphere-troposphere dynamical coupling for numerical weather prediction applications.
A Le Pichon, J Assink, et al, PSM Smets, LG Evers, et al. Comparison of co-located independent ground-based middle atmospheric wind and temperature measurements with numerical weather prediction models
published, J. Geophys. Res., 2015, 120