Intercomparison of wind observations from ESA's satellite mission Aeolus, ERA5 reanalysis and radiosonde over China
Abstract. The European Space Agency (ESA) Earth Explorer Atmospheric Dynamics Mission Aeolus is the first satellite mission providing wind profile information on a global scale, and its wind products have been released on 12 May 2020. In this study, we verify and intercompare the wind observations from ESA’s satellite mission Aeolus and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) fifth generation atmospheric reanalyses (ERA5) with radiosonde (RS) observations over China, to allow a fitting application of Aeolus winds. Aeolus provides wind observations in aerosol-free (referred to as Rayleigh-clear winds) and cloudy atmospheres (Mie-cloudy winds). In terms of Aeolus and RS winds, the correlation coefficient (R) and mean difference of Rayleigh-clear (Mie-cloudy) vs RS winds are 0.90 (0.92) and 0.09±9.62 (−0.59±8.05) m/s, respectively. The vertical profiles of wind speed differences between Aeolus and RS winds are opposite to each other during ascending and descending orbits, indicating that the performance of Aeolus wind product is affected by the orbit phase. The comparison of ECMWF winds relative to Aeolus winds provides the R and mean difference of Rayleigh-clear (Mie-cloudy) winds, which are 0.95 (0.97) and −0.16±6.78 (−0.21±3.91) m/s, respectively. The Rayleigh-clear and Mie-cloudy winds are almost consistent with the ECMWF winds, likely due to the assimilation of Aeolus wind observations into the ECMWF winds. Moreover, we find that among the results of comparing Aeolus with RS and ECMWF winds, the wind speed difference of Rayleigh-clear winds is large in the height range of 0–1 km, especially during descending orbits. This indicates that the performance of low-altitude Rayleigh-clear wind products could be affected by the near-surface aerosols. In addition, the R and mean difference between ERA5 and RS zonal wind components are 0.89 and −1.46±6.33 m/s, respectively. The RS zonal winds tend to be larger than those from ERA5. The wind speed difference between RS and ERA5 zonal winds in low-lying area is low and insignificant, while it is relatively high and significant over the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau areas. Overall, the Aeolus winds over China are similar to the RS and ECMWF winds. The RS and ERA5 zonal winds are somewhat different over high altitude area, but these differences are acceptable for application of wind products. The findings give us sufficient confidence and information to apply Aeolus wind products in numerical weather prediction in China and in climate change research.
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