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Nicholas A. Gasperoni
Xuguang Wang


The goal of this study is to improve an ensemble-based estimation for forecast sensitivity to observations that is straightforward to apply using existing products of any ensemble data assimilation system. Because of limited ensemble sizes compared to the large degrees of freedom in typical models, it is necessary to apply localization techniques to obtain accurate estimates. Fixed localization techniques do not guarantee accurate impact estimates, because as forecast time increases the error correlation structures evolve with the flow. Here a dynamical localization method is applied to improve the observation impact estimate. The authors employ a Monte Carlo “group filter” technique to limit the effects of sampling error via regression confidence factor (RCF). Experiments make use of the local ensemble transform Kalman filter (LETKF) with a simple two-layer primitive equation model and simulated observations. Results show that the shape, location, time dependency, and variable dependency of RCF localization functions are consistent with underlying dynamical processes of the model. Application of RCF localization to ensemble-estimated impact showed marked improvement especially for longer forecasts and at midlatitudes, when systematically verified against actual impact in RMSE and skill scores. The impact estimates near the equator were not as effective because of large discrepancies between the RCF function and the localization used at assimilation time. These latter results indicate that there exists an inherent relationship between the localization applied during the assimilation time and the proper localization choice for observation impact estimates. Application of RCF for automatically tuned localization is introduced and tested for a single observation experiment.

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