The current major expansion in observational capability of line National Weather Service is principally in the volume of asynchronous data rather than synchronous observations at the standard synoptic times. Hence, the National Meteorological Center is considering a continuous data assimilation system to replace at some time the intermittent system now used by its regional and global operational models.
We describe this system, based on the Newtonian relaxation technique, as developed for the eta model. Experiments are performed for the first intensive observing period of the Genesis of Atlantic Lows Experiment (GALE) in January 1986, when strong upper-level cyclogenesis occurred, with a pronounced tropopause fold but only modest surface development. The GALE level IIIb dataset was used for initializing and updating the model.
Issues addressed in the experiments include choice of update variable, number, and length of update segments; need for updating moisture and surface pressure information; nudging along boundaries; and noise control. Assimilation of data from a single level was also studied.
Use of a preforecast assimilation cycle was found to eliminate the spinup problem almost entirely. Multiple, shorter assimilation segments produced better forecasts than a single, longer cycle. Updating the mass field was less effective than nudging the wind field but assimilating both was best. Assimilation of moisture data, surprisingly, affected the spinup adversely, but nudging the surface pressure information reduced the spurious pillow effect. Assimilation of single-level information was ineffective unless accompanied by increased vertical coupling, obtained from a control integration.