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Vertical Covariance Localization for Satellite Radiances in Ensemble Kalman Filters

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  • 1 Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, California
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Abstract

A widely used observation space covariance localization method is shown to adversely affect satellite radiance assimilation in ensemble Kalman filters (EnKFs) when compared to model space covariance localization. The two principal problems are that distance and location are not well defined for integrated measurements, and that neighboring satellite channels typically have broad, overlapping weighting functions, which produce true, nonzero correlations that localization in radiance space can incorrectly eliminate. The limitations of the method are illustrated in a 1D conceptual model, consisting of three vertical levels and a two-channel satellite instrument. A more realistic 1D model is subsequently tested, using the 30 vertical levels from the Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS), the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit A (AMSU-A) weighting functions for channels 6–11, and the observation error variance and forecast error covariance from the NRL Atmospheric Variational Data Assimilation System (NAVDAS). Analyses from EnKFs using radiance space localization are compared with analyses from raw EnKFs, EnKFs using model space localization, and the optimal analyses using the NAVDAS forecast error covariance as a proxy for the true forecast error covariance. As measured by mean analysis error variance reduction, radiance space localization is inferior to model space localization for every ensemble size and meaningful observation error variance tested. Furthermore, given as many satellite channels as vertical levels, radiance space localization cannot recover the true temperature state with perfect observations, whereas model space localization can.

Corresponding author address: Dr. William F. Campbell, Naval Research Laboratory, 7 Grace Hopper Rd., Monterey, CA 93941. Email: bill.campbell@nrlmry.navy.mil

Abstract

A widely used observation space covariance localization method is shown to adversely affect satellite radiance assimilation in ensemble Kalman filters (EnKFs) when compared to model space covariance localization. The two principal problems are that distance and location are not well defined for integrated measurements, and that neighboring satellite channels typically have broad, overlapping weighting functions, which produce true, nonzero correlations that localization in radiance space can incorrectly eliminate. The limitations of the method are illustrated in a 1D conceptual model, consisting of three vertical levels and a two-channel satellite instrument. A more realistic 1D model is subsequently tested, using the 30 vertical levels from the Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS), the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit A (AMSU-A) weighting functions for channels 6–11, and the observation error variance and forecast error covariance from the NRL Atmospheric Variational Data Assimilation System (NAVDAS). Analyses from EnKFs using radiance space localization are compared with analyses from raw EnKFs, EnKFs using model space localization, and the optimal analyses using the NAVDAS forecast error covariance as a proxy for the true forecast error covariance. As measured by mean analysis error variance reduction, radiance space localization is inferior to model space localization for every ensemble size and meaningful observation error variance tested. Furthermore, given as many satellite channels as vertical levels, radiance space localization cannot recover the true temperature state with perfect observations, whereas model space localization can.

Corresponding author address: Dr. William F. Campbell, Naval Research Laboratory, 7 Grace Hopper Rd., Monterey, CA 93941. Email: bill.campbell@nrlmry.navy.mil

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