Impact of the assimilation of water vapour isotopologues on diabatic heating and precipitation in the tropics
Abstract. The strong coupling between atmospheric circulation, moisture pathways and atmospheric diabatic heating is responsible for most climate feedback mechanisms and controls the evolution of severe weather events. However, diabatic heating rates obtained from current meteorological reanalysis show significant inconsistencies. Here, we theoretically assess with an Observation System Simulation Experiment (OSSE) the potential of the MUlti-platform remote Sensing of Isotopologues for investigating the Cycle of Atmospheric water (MUSICA) Infrared Atmospheric Sounding interferometer (IASI) mid-tropospheric water isotopologue data for constraining uncertainties in meteorological analysis fields. For this purpose, we use the Isotope-incorporated General Spectral Model (IsoGSM) together with a Local Ensemble Transform Kalman Filter (LETKF) and assimilate synthetic MUSICA IASI water vapour isotopologue observations. We perform four ensemble simulations, three where synthetic IASI isotopologue and humidity data are assimilated and another one where no observational data at all are assimilated. By comparing the ensemble simulations with data assimilation with water isotopologues to the one without any data assimilation we can, in contrast to the former study by Toride et al. (2021) where additionally conventional observations where considered, assess the direct impact of the IASI δD and water vapour data on the meteorological variables, especially on the heating rates and vertical velocity. The assessment is performed for the tropics in the latitude range from 10° S to 10° N. When the synthetic isotopologue data are assimilated, we derive reduced Root-Mean-Square Deviations (RMSDs) and improved skills with respect to meteorological variables (improvement by about 11–17%). When only IASI δD is assimilated the improvement in vertical velocity and heating rate is minor (up to a few percent) and restricted to the mid-troposphere. However, when water vapour alone or δD is assimilated additionally to water vapour, heating rates and vertical motion can be improved throughout the troposphere. The highest improvements, however, are derived when δD is assimilated additionally to water vapour confirming that water isotopologues hold different aspects of information than water vapour. Thus, in consequence δD offers, especially when assimilated additionally to water vapour, potential for improving diabatic heating and precipitation and thus meteorological analysis, weather forecasts and climate predictions in the tropical regions.
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