Niels Bormann

Principal Scientist
Research Department, Earth System Assimilation Section, Microwave Radiance Observations Group

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Niels Bormann is a Principal Scientist in the ECMWF Research Department, leading a team responsible for the exploitation of satellite observations from microwave radiances and Atmospheric Motion Vectors (AMVs) as well as the general processing of observations for assimilation.



Professional interests: 

Use of satellite data to specify initial conditions for operational global Numerical Weather forecasts, in particular:

  • Evaluation of new satellite data in NWP for assimilation and calibration/validation; detection and diagnosis of anomalies.
  • Extended and improved use of satellite observations in NWP, with a focus on microwave sounders and AMVs.
  • Estimating and accounting for random and systematic uncertainties involved in the assimilation of satellite data.
  • Feedback to space agencies and advice for planning of future satellite missions.




Career background: 

2016-present: Team Leader Microwave Radiances and AMVs, ECMWF
2011-2015: Team Leader Microwave Sounders and AMVs, ECMWF
2011-present: Principal Scientist working on the assimilation of MW and IR sounders, ECMWF
2006-2011: Senior Scientist working on the assimilation of MW and IR radiances, ECMWF
2003-2006: Research Consultant working on the assimilation of IR limb radiances, ECMWF
2000-2002: EUMETSAT Fellow working on the assimilation of AMVs, ECMWF
1997-2000: PhD (Geophysics), Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, in collaboration with the New Zealand National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA)


External recognitions: 

CGMS International TOVS Working Group Co-chair (2012-2018)
EUMETSAT Science Working Group delegate (2006-today)
EUMETSAT NWP SAF Steering Group (2016-today)
ESA/EUMETSAT EPS-SG MWS Science Advisory Group (2015-today)
EUMETSAT MTG-IRS Science Team (2010-2013)
ESA PREMIER Mission Assessment Group (2007-2008)

Dr Vilho Väisälä Award for the Development and Implementation of the Instruments and Methods of Observation of WMO (2012)
Jim Ansell Geophysics Award of the Geophysics Society of New Zealand (1999)





Peer-reviewed publications

  1. Bormann, N., 2017: Slant path radiative transfer for the assimilation of sounder radiances. Tellus, 69, doi: 10.1080/16000870.2016.1272779.
  2. Bormann, N., M. Bonavita, R. Dragani, R. Eresmaa, M. Matricardi, A.P. McNally, 2016: Enhancing the impact of IASI observations through an updated observation error covariance matrix. Q.J.R.Meteorol.Soc., 142, in press.
  3. Chen, K., S. English, N. Bormann, J. Zhu, 2015: Assessment of FY-3A and FY-3B MWHS Observations. Wea. Forecasting, 30, 1280–1290.
  4. Salonen, K., J. Cotton, N. Bormann, M. Forsythe, 2015: Characterizing AMV Height-Assignment Error by Comparing Best-Fit Pressure Statistics from the Met Office and ECMWF Data Assimilation Systems. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 54, 225–242.
  5. Bechtold, P., N. Semane, P. Lopez, J.-P. Chaboureau, A. Beljaars, N. Bormann, 2014: Representing equilibrium and non-equilibrium convection in large-scale models. J. Atmos.Sci., 71, 734-75.
  6. Bormann, N., A. Hernandez-Carrascal, R. Borde, H.-J. Lutz, J. A. Otkin, S. Wanzong, 2014: Atmospheric Motion Vectors from Model Simulations. Part I: Methods and Characterization as Single-Level Estimates of Wind. J.Appl.Meteor.Clim., 53, 47-64.
  7. Hernandez-Carrascal, A., N. Bormann, 2014: Atmospheric Motion Vectors from Model Simulations. Part II: Interpretation as Spatial and Vertical Averages of Wind and Role of Clouds. J.Appl.Meteor.Clim., 53, 65-82.
  8. Bormann, N., A. Fouilloux, W. Bell, 2013: Evaluation and assimilation of ATMS data in the ECMWF system. J. Geophys.Res., 118(23), DOI:10.1002/2013JD020325
  9. Lu, Q., W. Bell, P. Bauer, N. Bormann, C. Peubey, 2011: Characterizing the FY-3A microwave temperature sounder using the ECMWF model. J. Atmos. Oceanic Tech., 28, 1373-1389 (Recipient of 4th Vilho Väisälä Award from WMO).
  10. Dee, D. P., S.M. Uppala, A.J. Simmons, P. Berrisford, P. Poli, S. Kobayashi, U. Andrae, M.A. Balmaseda, G. Balsamo, P. Bauer, P. Bechtold, A.C.M. Beljaars, L. van de Berg, J. Bidlot, N. Bormann, C. Delsol, R. Dragani, M. Fuentes, A.J. Geer, L. Haimberger, S.B. Healy, H. Hersbach, E.V. Hólm, L. Isaksen, P. Kållberg, M. Köhler, M. Matricardi, A.P. McNally, B.M. Monge-Sanz, J.J. Morcrette, B.-K. Park, C. Peubey, P. de Rosnay, C. Tavolato, J.-N. Thépaut, F. Vitart, 2011: The ERA-Interim reanalysis: configuration and performance of the data assimilation system. Q.J.R. Meteorol. Soc., 137: 553–597.
  11. Bormann, N., and P. Bauer, 2010: Estimates of spatial and inter-channel observation error characteristics for current sounder radiances for NWP, part I: Methods and application to ATOVS data. Q.J.R.Meteorol.Soc., 136, 1036-1050.
  12. Bormann, N., A. Collard, and P. Bauer, 2010: Estimates of spatial and inter-channel observation error characteristics for current sounder radiances for NWP, part II: Application to AIRS and IASI. Q.J.R.Meteorol.Soc., 136, 1051-1063.
  13. Geer, A.,  P. Bauer, and  N. Bormann, 2010: Solar biases in microwave imager observations assimilated at ECMWF. IEEE Trans.Geosci.Remote Sensing, 48, 2660-2669.
  14. Thornton, H.,  D. Jackson,  S. Bekki,  N. Bormann,  Q. Errera,  A. Geer,  W. Lahoz, and  S. Rharmili, 2009: The ASSET intercomparison of stratosphere and lower mesosphere humidity analyses. Atmos.Chem.Phys., 9, 995-1016.
  15. Bell, W.,  S. English,  B. Candy,  N. Atkinson,  F. Hilton,  N. Baker,  S. Swadley,  W. Campbell,  N. Bormann,  G. Kelly, and  M. Kazumori, 2008: The assimilation of SSMIS radiances in Numerical Weather Prediction models. IEEE Trans.Geosci.Remote Sensing, 46, 884-900.
  16. Saunders, R.,  P. Rayer,  P. Brunel,  A. von Engeln,  N. Bormann,  L. Strow, S. Hannon,  S. Heilliette,  X. Liu,  F. Miskolczi,  Y. Han,  G. Masiello, J.-L. Moncet,  G. Uymin,  V. Sherlock, and  D. Turner, 2007: A comparison of radiative transfer models for simulating Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) radiances. J.Geophys.Res., 112, doi:10.1029/2006JD007088.
  17. Lahoz, W.,  A. Geer,  S. Bekki,  N. Bormann,  S. Ceccherini,  H. Elbern,  Q. Errera,  H. Eskes,  D. Fonteyn,  D. Jackson,  B. Khattatov,  M. Marchand,  S. Massart,  V.-H. Peuch,  S. Rhamili,  M. Ridolfi,  A. Segers,  O. Talagrand, H. Thornton,  A. Vik, and  T. von Clarmann, 2007: The assimilation of Envisat data (ASSET) project. Atmos.Chem.Phys.,7, 1773-1796.
  18. Bormann, N., and J.-N. Thépaut, 2007: Assimilation of MIPAS limb radiances in the ECMWF system. Part I: Experiments with a 1-dimensional observation operator. Q.J.R.Meteorol.Soc., 133, 309-327.
  19. Bormann, N., S.B. Healy, and M. Hamrud, 2007: Assimilation of MIPAS limb radiances in the ECMWF system. Part II: Experiments with a 2-dimensional observation operator and comparison to retrieval assimilation. Q.J.R.Meteorol.Soc., 133, 329-346.
  20. Bormann, N., and S.B. Healy, 2006: A fast radiative-transfer model for the assimilation of MIPAS limb radiances: Accounting for horizontal gradients. Q.J.R.Meteorol.Soc., 132, 2357-2376.
  21. Geer, A.,  W. Lahoz,  S. Bekki,  N. Bormann,  Q. Errera,  H. Eskes,  D. Fonteyn, D. Jackson,  M. Juckes,  S. Massart,  V.-H. Peuch,  S. Rharmili, and  A. Segers, 2006: The ASSET intercomparison of ozone analyses: method and first results. Atmos.Chem.Phys., 6, 5445-5474.
  22. Uppala, S.,  P. Kållberg,  A. Simmons,  U. Andrae,  V. da Costa Bechtold,  M. Fiorino,  J. Gibson,  J. Haseler,  A. Hernandez,  G. Kelly,  X. Li,  K. Onogi,  S. Saarinen,  N. Sokka,  R. Allan,  E. Andersson,  K. Arpe,  M. Balmaseda,  A. Beljaars,  L. van de Berg,  J. Bidlot,  N. Bormann,  S. Caires,  F. Chevallier,  A. Dethof,  M. Dragosavac,  M. Fisher,  M. Fuentes, S. Hagemann,  E. Holm,  B. Hoskins,  L. Isaksen,  P. Janssen,  R. Jenne,  A. McNally,  J.-F. Mahfouf, J.-J. Morcrette,  N. Rayner,  R. Saunders,  P. Simon,  A. Sterl,  K. Trenberth,  A. Untch,  D. Vasiljevic,  P. Viterbo, and J. Woollen, 2005: The ERA-40 re-analysis. Q.J.R.Meteorol.Soc., 131, 2961-3012.
  23. Bormann, N., and J.-N. Thépaut, 2004: Impact of MODIS polar winds in ECMWF’s 4DVAR data assimilation system. Mon. Wea. Rev., 132, 929—940.
  24. Bormann, N., J.-N. Thépaut, and G. Kelly, 2003: Eclipse Anomalies in Atmospheric Motion Vectors derived from Meteosat imagery and their implications on data assimilation. J. Appl. Met., 42, 1035—1042.
  25. Bormann, N., S. Saarinen, G. Kelly, and J.-N. Thépaut, 2003: The spatial structure of observation errors in Atmospheric Motion Vectors from geostationary satellite data. Mon. Wea. Rev., 131, 706—718.
  26. Key, J. R., D. Santek, C. S. Velden, N. Bormann, J.-N. Thépaut, L. P. Riishøjgaard, Y. Zhu, and W. P. Menzel, 2003: Cloud-drift and water vapour winds in the polar regions from MODIS. IEEE Trans. Geosc. Remote Sens., 41, 482—492.
  27. Bormann, N. and C. J. Marks, 1999: Mesoscale rainfall forecasts over New Zealand during SALPEX96: Characterisation and sensitivity studies. Mon. Wea. Rev., 127, 2880—2893.