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Mark Buehner, P. L. Houtekamer, Cecilien Charette, Herschel L. Mitchell, and Bin He

1. Introduction Variational data assimilation approaches are used at many numerical weather prediction (NWP) centers for operationally assimilating meteorological observations to provide a single “best” estimate of the current atmospheric state (e.g., Parrish and Derber, 1992 ; Rabier et al. 2000 ; Gauthier et al. 2007 ; Rawlins et al. 2007 ). The resulting analysis is used to initialize deterministic forecast models to produce short- and medium-range forecasts. Observations

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