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Lars Nerger, Tijana Janjić, Jens Schröter, and Wolfgang Hiller


In recent years, several ensemble-based Kalman filter algorithms have been developed that have been classified as ensemble square root Kalman filters. Parallel to this development, the singular “evolutive” interpolated Kalman (SEIK) filter has been introduced and applied in several studies. Some publications note that the SEIK filter is an ensemble Kalman filter or even an ensemble square root Kalman filter. This study examines the relation of the SEIK filter to ensemble square root filters in detail. It shows that the SEIK filter is indeed an ensemble square root Kalman filter. Furthermore, a variant of the SEIK filter, the error subspace transform Kalman filter (ESTKF), is presented that results in identical ensemble transformations to those of the ensemble transform Kalman filter (ETKF), while having a slightly lower computational cost. Numerical experiments are conducted to compare the performance of three filters (SEIK, ETKF, and ESTKF) using deterministic and random ensemble transformations. The results show better performance for the ETKF and ESTKF methods over the SEIK filter as long as this filter is not applied with a symmetric square root. The findings unify the separate developments that have been performed for the SEIK filter and the other ensemble square root Kalman filters.

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Tijana Janjić, Lars Nerger, Alberta Albertella, Jens Schröter, and Sergey Skachko


Ensemble Kalman filter methods are typically used in combination with one of two localization techniques. One technique is covariance localization, or direct forecast error localization, in which the ensemble-derived forecast error covariance matrix is Schur multiplied with a chosen correlation matrix. The second way of localization is by domain decomposition. Here, the assimilation is split into local domains in which the assimilation update is performed independently. Domain localization is frequently used in combination with filter algorithms that use the analysis error covariance matrix for the calculation of the gain like the ensemble transform Kalman filter (ETKF) and the singular evolutive interpolated Kalman filter (SEIK). However, since the local assimilations are performed independently, smoothness of the analysis fields across the subdomain boundaries becomes an issue of concern.

To address the problem of smoothness, an algorithm is introduced that uses domain localization in combination with a Schur product localization of the forecast error covariance matrix for each local subdomain. On a simple example, using the Lorenz-40 system, it is demonstrated that this modification can produce results comparable to those obtained with direct forecast error localization. In addition, these results are compared to the method that uses domain localization in combination with weighting of observations. In the simple example, the method using weighting of observations is less accurate than the new method, particularly if the observation errors are small.

Domain localization with weighting of observations is further examined in the case of assimilation of satellite data into the global finite-element ocean circulation model (FEOM) using the local SEIK filter. In this example, the use of observational weighting improves the accuracy of the analysis. In addition, depending on the correlation function used for weighting, the spectral properties of the solution can be improved.

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