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Investigating the Use of Ensemble Variance to Predict Observation Error of Representation

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  • 1 Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, California
  • | 2 Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C.
  • | 3 Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, California
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Abstract

Data assimilation schemes combine observational data with a short-term model forecast to produce an analysis. However, many characteristics of the atmospheric states described by the observations and the model differ. Observations often measure a higher-resolution state than coarse-resolution model grids can describe. Hence, the observations may measure aspects of gradients or unresolved eddies that are poorly resolved by the filtered version of reality represented by the model. This inconsistency, known as observation representation error, must be accounted for in data assimilation schemes. In this paper the ability of the ensemble to predict the variance of the observation error of representation is explored, arguing that the portion of representation error being detected by the ensemble variance is that portion correlated to the smoothed features that the coarse-resolution forecast model is able to predict. This predictive relationship is explored using differences between model states and their spectrally truncated form, as well as commonly used statistical methods to estimate observation error variances. It is demonstrated that the ensemble variance is a useful predictor of the observation error variance of representation and that it could be used to account for flow dependence in the observation error covariance matrix.

For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author e-mail: Elizabeth Satterfield, elizabeth.satterfield@nrlmry.navy.mil

Abstract

Data assimilation schemes combine observational data with a short-term model forecast to produce an analysis. However, many characteristics of the atmospheric states described by the observations and the model differ. Observations often measure a higher-resolution state than coarse-resolution model grids can describe. Hence, the observations may measure aspects of gradients or unresolved eddies that are poorly resolved by the filtered version of reality represented by the model. This inconsistency, known as observation representation error, must be accounted for in data assimilation schemes. In this paper the ability of the ensemble to predict the variance of the observation error of representation is explored, arguing that the portion of representation error being detected by the ensemble variance is that portion correlated to the smoothed features that the coarse-resolution forecast model is able to predict. This predictive relationship is explored using differences between model states and their spectrally truncated form, as well as commonly used statistical methods to estimate observation error variances. It is demonstrated that the ensemble variance is a useful predictor of the observation error variance of representation and that it could be used to account for flow dependence in the observation error covariance matrix.

For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author e-mail: Elizabeth Satterfield, elizabeth.satterfield@nrlmry.navy.mil
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