The potential of numerical weather prediction to supply a useful support to flexible scheduling of astronomical observations is investigated. We applied some common tools presently used in numerical meteorology at regional scale in order to evaluate the ability to forecast local meteorological conditions (cloud cover, air temperature and wind speed) at Cerro Paranal and Cerro La Silla in Chile, where telescopes of ESO (the European Southern Observatory) are sited. The first part of this paper is devoted to evaluating the accuracy of analysis and forecasts of the ECMWF (European Center for Medium-range Weather Forecast) general circulation model for ESO needs. With this aim, analysis and 24-48 hour forecasts from ECMWF are systematically compared with observations at the ground meteorological stations of Paranal and La Silla, and with vertical profiles of radiosounding launches at Antofagasta and Quintero. The second part of this paper is aimed at improving the ECMWF forecasts at telescope sites by means of Kalman filter statistical post-processing and meteorological limited area modeling. Encouraging results are obtained concerning temperature, whereas much less satisfactory results are obtained for wind field and cloud cover. The most critical aspects of atmospheric dynamics affecting the local forecast are discussed within the limits of available information.

Meteorological forecasting for the European Southern Observatories in Chile

DEIDDA, ROBERTO;
2000

Abstract

The potential of numerical weather prediction to supply a useful support to flexible scheduling of astronomical observations is investigated. We applied some common tools presently used in numerical meteorology at regional scale in order to evaluate the ability to forecast local meteorological conditions (cloud cover, air temperature and wind speed) at Cerro Paranal and Cerro La Silla in Chile, where telescopes of ESO (the European Southern Observatory) are sited. The first part of this paper is devoted to evaluating the accuracy of analysis and forecasts of the ECMWF (European Center for Medium-range Weather Forecast) general circulation model for ESO needs. With this aim, analysis and 24-48 hour forecasts from ECMWF are systematically compared with observations at the ground meteorological stations of Paranal and La Silla, and with vertical profiles of radiosounding launches at Antofagasta and Quintero. The second part of this paper is aimed at improving the ECMWF forecasts at telescope sites by means of Kalman filter statistical post-processing and meteorological limited area modeling. Encouraging results are obtained concerning temperature, whereas much less satisfactory results are obtained for wind field and cloud cover. The most critical aspects of atmospheric dynamics affecting the local forecast are discussed within the limits of available information.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11584/195452
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