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Zhiyong Meng and Fuqing Zhang

ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF; Evensen 1994 ), which estimates the background error covariance with a short-term ensemble forecast, is drawing increasing attention. Since its first application in atmospheric sciences ( Houtekamer and Mitchell 1998 ), the EnKF has been widely examined with different models at different scales (e.g., Hamill and Snyder 2000 ; Anderson 2001 ; Whitaker and Hamill 2002 ; Mitchell et al. 2002 ; Snyder and Zhang 2003 ; Zhang and Anderson 2003 ; Zhang et al. 2004 , 2006

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Loïk Berre and Gérald Desroziers

representation of effects from data density variations and atmospheric spatial variabilities was noted, and positive impacts were observed on the forecast quality of the Météo-France NWP system. Deriving flow-dependent local variances from an ensemble variational assimilation was then attempted by Kucukkaraca and Fisher (2006) , with encouraging results on cases of midlatitude storms and tropical cyclones. Another possible step is to relax the application of the homogeneity assumption with respect to

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