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Jean-Michel Brankart, Emmanuel Cosme, Charles-Emmanuel Testut, Pierre Brasseur, and Jacques Verron

Abstract

In large-sized atmospheric or oceanic applications of square root or ensemble Kalman filters, it is often necessary to introduce the prior assumption that long-range correlations are negligible and force them to zero using a local parameterization, supplementing the ensemble or reduced-rank representation of the covariance. One classic algorithm to perform this operation consists of taking the Schur product of the ensemble covariance matrix by a local support correlation matrix. However, with this parameterization, the square root of the forecast error covariance matrix is no more directly available, so that any observational update algorithm requiring this square root must include an additional step to compute local square roots from the Schur product. This computation generates an additional numerical cost or produces high-rank square roots, which may deprive the observational update from its original efficiency. In this paper, it is shown how efficient local square root parameterizations can be obtained, for use with a specific square root formulation (i.e., eigenbasis algorithm) of the observational update. Comparisons with the classic algorithm are provided, mainly in terms of consistency, accuracy, and computational complexity. As an application, the resulting parameterization is used to estimate maps of dynamic topography characterizing a basin-scale ocean turbulent flow. Even with this moderate-sized system (a 2200-km-wide square basin with 100-km-wide mesoscale eddies), it is observed that more than 1000 ensemble members are necessary to faithfully represent the global correlation patterns, and that a local parameterization is needed to produce correct covariances with moderate-sized ensembles. Comparisons with the exact solution show that the use of local square roots is able to improve the accuracy of the updated ensemble mean and the consistency of the updated ensemble variance. With the eigenbasis algorithm, optimal adaptive estimates of scaling factors for the forecast and observation error covariance matrix can also be obtained locally at negligible additional numerical cost. Finally, a comparison of the overall computational cost illustrates the decisive advantage that efficient local square root parameterizations may have to deal simultaneously with a larger number of observations and avoid data thinning as much as possible.

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Jean-Michel Brankart, Emmanuel Cosme, Charles-Emmanuel Testut, Pierre Brasseur, and Jacques Verron

Abstract

In Kalman filter applications, an adaptive parameterization of the error statistics is often necessary to avoid filter divergence, and prevent error estimates from becoming grossly inconsistent with the real error. With the classic formulation of the Kalman filter observational update, optimal estimates of general adaptive parameters can only be obtained at a numerical cost that is several times larger than the cost of the state observational update. In this paper, it is shown that there exists a few types of important parameters for which optimal estimates can be computed at a negligible numerical cost, as soon as the computation is performed using a transformed algorithm that works in the reduced control space defined by the square root or ensemble representation of the forecast error covariance matrix. The set of parameters that can be efficiently controlled includes scaling factors for the forecast error covariance matrix, scaling factors for the observation error covariance matrix, or even a scaling factor for the observation error correlation length scale.

As an application, the resulting adaptive filter is used to estimate the time evolution of ocean mesoscale signals using observations of the ocean dynamic topography. To check the behavior of the adaptive mechanism, this is done in the context of idealized experiments, in which model error and observation error statistics are known. This ideal framework is particularly appropriate to explore the ill-conditioned situations (inadequate prior assumptions or uncontrollability of the parameters) in which adaptivity can be misleading. Overall, the experiments show that, if used correctly, the efficient optimal adaptive algorithm proposed in this paper introduces useful supplementary degrees of freedom in the estimation problem, and that the direct control of these statistical parameters by the observations increases the robustness of the error estimates and thus the optimality of the resulting Kalman filter.

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Jean-Michel Brankart, Clément Ubelmann, Charles-Emmanuel Testut, Emmanuel Cosme, Pierre Brasseur, and Jacques Verron

Abstract

In the Kalman filter standard algorithm, the computational complexity of the observational update is proportional to the cube of the number y of observations (leading behavior for large y). In realistic atmospheric or oceanic applications, involving an increasing quantity of available observations, this often leads to a prohibitive cost and to the necessity of simplifying the problem by aggregating or dropping observations. If the filter error covariance matrices are in square root form, as in square root or ensemble Kalman filters, the standard algorithm can be transformed to be linear in y, providing that the observation error covariance matrix is diagonal. This is a significant drawback of this transformed algorithm and often leads to an assumption of uncorrelated observation errors for the sake of numerical efficiency. In this paper, it is shown that the linearity of the transformed algorithm in y can be preserved for other forms of the observation error covariance matrix. In particular, quite general correlation structures (with analytic asymptotic expressions) can be simulated simply by augmenting the observation vector with differences of the original observations, such as their discrete gradients. Errors in ocean altimetric observations are spatially correlated, as for instance orbit or atmospheric errors along the satellite track. Adequately parameterizing these correlations can directly improve the quality of observational updates and the accuracy of the associated error estimates. In this paper, the example of the North Brazil Current circulation is used to demonstrate the importance of this effect, which is especially significant in that region of moderate ratio between signal amplitude and observation noise, and to show that the efficient parameterization that is proposed for the observation error correlations is appropriate to take it into account. Adding explicit gradient observations also receives a physical justification. This parameterization is thus proved to be useful to ocean data assimilation systems that are based on square root or ensemble Kalman filters, as soon as the number of observations becomes penalizing, and if a sophisticated parameterization of the observation error correlations is required.

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