AbstractTwo types of approaches are commonly used for estimating the impact of arbitrary subsets of observations on short-range forecast error. The first was developed for variational data assimilation systems and requires the adjoint of the forecast model. Comparable approaches were developed for use with the ensemble Kalman filter and rely on ensembles of forecasts. In this study, a new approach for computing observation impact is proposed for ensemble-variational data assimilation (EnVar). Like standard adjoint approaches, the adjoint of the data assimilation procedure is implemented through the iterative minimization of a modified cost function. However, like ensemble approaches, the adjoint of the forecast step is obtained by using an ensemble of forecasts. Numerical experiments were performed to compare the new approach with the standard adjoint approach in the context of operational deterministic NWP. Generally similar results are obtained with both approaches, especially when the new approach uses covariance localization that is horizontally advected between analysis and forecast times. However, large differences in estimated impacts are obtained for some surface observations. Vertical propagation of the observation impact is noticeably restricted with the new approach due to vertical covariance localization. The new approach is used to evaluate changes in observation impact due to the use of inter-channel observation error correlations for radiance observations. The estimated observation impact in similarly configured global and regional prediction systems is also compared. Overall, the new approach should provide useful estimates of observation impact for data assimilation systems based on EnVar when an adjoint model is not available.
Monthly Weather Review – American Meteorological Society
Published: Dec 20, 2017
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