The improvement of analysis and data assimilation techniques can have a large impact, as shown here in the context of the Canadian global and regional data assimilation systems. Both of these systems utilize the same analysis component that was recently changed as follows: (a) a completely 3D algorithm replaced the previous split 3D scheme, which involved separate vertical and horizontal steps; (b) the assimilation of SATEM data was revised and is now done in terms of thicknesses over relatively thick layers; (c) an additional analysis level (at 925 hPa) was added and a derived temperature analysis replaced the former temperature analysis; (d) observation and forecast error statistics were revised; and (e) a correction procedure was introduced for certain types of radiosondes to offset the negative impact of solar and longwave radiation.
While many of these changes are interrelated, preventing a systematic evaluation of each in isolation, it is shown that the revised 3D algorithm eliminates a problem that sometimes occurred in areas of dense surface data, SATEM data have a large positive impact in the Southern Hemisphere, and the radiosonde bias-correction scheme very significantly reduces the geopotential height bias observed previously in the upper atmosphere over certain regions, such as western North America.
The overall evaluation of the analysis changes shows that in general the new analysis results in more accurate 6-h forecasts, with the largest improvements in the Tropics and especially in the Southern Hemisphere. In conjunction with these forecast gains, the evaluation of the general circulation statistics for August also show significant changes: the new analyses are more energetic, exhibiting a substantially stronger Hadley circulation and stronger zonal winds about Antarctica. The global forecasts from the revised analysis system consistently exhibit a significantly more rapid spinup of global precipitation as compared to the previous system.