Tests of an ensemble Kalman filter for mesoscale and regional-scale data assimilation
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This dissertation examines the performance of an ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) implemented in a mesoscale model in increasingly realistic contexts from under a perfect model assumption and in the presence of significant model error with synthetic observations to real-world data assimilation in comparison to the three-dimensional variational (3DVar) method via both case study and month-long experiments. The EnKF is shown to be promising for future application in operational data assimilation practice. The EnKF with synthetic observations, which is implemented in the mesoscale model MM5, is very effective in keeping the analysis close to the truth under the perfect model assumption. The EnKF is most effective in reducing larger-scale errors but less effective in reducing errors at smaller, marginally resolvable scales. In the presence of significant model errors from physical parameterization schemes, the EnKF performs reasonably well though sometimes it can be significantly degraded compared to its performance under the perfect model assumption. Using a combination of different physical parameterization schemes in the ensemble (the so-called Ã¢ÂÂmulti-schemeÃ¢ÂÂ ensemble) can significantly improve filter performance due to the resulting better background error covariance and a smaller ensemble bias. The EnKF performs differently for different flow regimes possibly due to scale- and flow-dependent error growth dynamics and predictability. Real-data (including soundings, profilers and surface observations) are assimilated by directly comparing the EnKF and 3DVar and both are implemented in the Weather Research and Forecasting model. A case study and month-long experiments show that the EnKF is efficient in tracking observations in terms of both prior forecast and posterior analysis. The EnKF performs consistently better than 3DVar for the time period of interest due to the benefit of the EnKF from both using ensemble mean for state estimation and using a flow-dependent background error covariance. Proper covariance inflation and using a multi-scheme ensemble can significantly improve the EnKF performance. Using a multi-scheme ensemble results in larger improvement in thermodynamic variables than in other variables. The 3DVar system can benefit substantially from using a short-term ensemble mean for state estimate. Noticeable improvement is also achieved in 3DVar by including some flow dependence in its background error covariance.
Meng, Zhiyong (2003). Tests of an ensemble Kalman filter for mesoscale and regional-scale data assimilation. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from