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Surface Data Assimilation Using an Ensemble Kalman Filter Approach with Initial Condition and Model Physics Uncertainties

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  • 1 NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory, and Sasaki Institute, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, and Numerical Prediction Division, Japan Meteorological Agency, Tokyo, Japan
  • | 2 NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 3 Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, Norman, Oklahoma
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Abstract

The assimilation of surface observations using an ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) approach is evaluated for the potential to improve short-range forecasting. Two severe weather cases are examined, in which the assimilation is performed over a 6-h period using hourly surface observations followed by an 18-h simulation period. Ensembles are created in three different ways—by using different initial and boundary conditions, by using different model physical process schemes, and by using both different initial and boundary conditions and different model physical process schemes. The ensembles are compared in order to investigate the role of uncertainties in the initial and boundary conditions and physical process schemes in EnKF data assimilation. In the initial condition ensemble, spread is associated largely with the displacement of atmospheric baroclinic systems. In the physics ensemble, spread comes from the differences in model physics, which results in larger spread in temperature and dewpoint temperature than the initial condition ensemble, and smaller spread in the wind fields. The combined initial condition and physics ensemble has properties from both of the previous two ensembles. It provides the largest spread and produces the best simulation for most of the variables, in terms of the rms difference between the ensemble mean and observations. Perhaps most importantly, this combined ensemble provides very good guidance on the mesoscale features important to the severe weather events of the day.

Corresponding author address: Dr. David Stensrud, National Severe Storms Laboratory, FRDD, Room 4368, National Weather Center, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., Norman, OK 73072. Email: david.stensrud@noaa.gov

Abstract

The assimilation of surface observations using an ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) approach is evaluated for the potential to improve short-range forecasting. Two severe weather cases are examined, in which the assimilation is performed over a 6-h period using hourly surface observations followed by an 18-h simulation period. Ensembles are created in three different ways—by using different initial and boundary conditions, by using different model physical process schemes, and by using both different initial and boundary conditions and different model physical process schemes. The ensembles are compared in order to investigate the role of uncertainties in the initial and boundary conditions and physical process schemes in EnKF data assimilation. In the initial condition ensemble, spread is associated largely with the displacement of atmospheric baroclinic systems. In the physics ensemble, spread comes from the differences in model physics, which results in larger spread in temperature and dewpoint temperature than the initial condition ensemble, and smaller spread in the wind fields. The combined initial condition and physics ensemble has properties from both of the previous two ensembles. It provides the largest spread and produces the best simulation for most of the variables, in terms of the rms difference between the ensemble mean and observations. Perhaps most importantly, this combined ensemble provides very good guidance on the mesoscale features important to the severe weather events of the day.

Corresponding author address: Dr. David Stensrud, National Severe Storms Laboratory, FRDD, Room 4368, National Weather Center, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., Norman, OK 73072. Email: david.stensrud@noaa.gov

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