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  1. Accurate specification of hurricane inner-core structure is critical to predicting the evolution of a hurricane. However, observations over hurricane inner cores are generally lacking. Previous studies have emphasized Tail Doppler radar (TDR) data assimilation to improve hurricane inner-core representation. Recently, Doppler wind lidar (DWL) has been used as an observing system to sample hurricane inner-core and environmental conditions. The NOAA P3 Hurricane Hunter aircraft has DWL installed and can obtain wind data over a hurricane’s inner core when the aircraft passes through the hurricane. In this study, we examine the impact of assimilating DWL winds and TDR radial winds on the prediction of Hurricane Earl (2016) with the NCEP operational Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) system. A series of data assimilation experiments are conducted with the Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation (GSI)-based ensemble-3DVAR hybrid system to identify the best way to assimilate TDR and DWL data into the HWRF forecast system. The results show a positive impact of DWL data on hurricane analysis and prediction. Compared with the assimilation of u and v components, assimilation of DWL wind speed provides better hurricane track and intensity forecasts. Proper choices of data thinning distances (e.g., 5 km horizontal thinning and 70 hPa vertical thinning for DWL) can help achieve better analysis in terms of hurricane vortex representation and forecasts. In the analysis and forecast cycles, the combined TDR and DWL assimilation (DWL wind speed and TDR radial wind, along with other conventional data, e.g., NCEP Automated Data Processing (ADP) data) offsets the downgrade analysis from the absence of DWL observations in an analysis cycle and outperforms assimilation of a single type of data (either TDR or DWL) and leads to improved forecasts of hurricane track, intensity, and structure. Overall, assimilation of DWL observations has been beneficial for analysis and forecasts in most cases. The outcomes from this study demonstrate the great potential of including DWL wind profiles in the operational HWRF system for hurricane forecast improvement. 
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