An Efficient Dual-Resolution Approach for Ensemble Data Assimilation and Tests with Simulated Doppler Radar Data

Jidong Gao; Ming Xue
March 2008
Monthly Weather Review;Mar2008, Vol. 136 Issue 3, p945
Academic Journal
A new efficient dual-resolution (DR) data assimilation algorithm is developed based on the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) method and tested using simulated radar radial velocity data for a supercell storm. Radar observations are assimilated on both high-resolution and lower-resolution grids using the EnKF algorithm with flow-dependent background error covariances estimated from the lower-resolution ensemble. It is shown that the flow-dependent and dynamically evolved background error covariances thus estimated are effective in producing quality analyses on the high-resolution grid. The DR method has the advantage of being able to significantly reduce the computational cost of the EnKF analysis. In the system, the lower-resolution ensemble provides the flow-dependent background error covariance, while the single-high-resolution forecast and analysis provides the benefit of higher resolution, which is important for resolving the internal structures of thunderstorms. The relative smoothness of the covariance obtained from the lower 4-km-resolution ensemble does not appear to significantly degrade the quality of analysis. This is because the cross covariance among different variables is of first-order importance for “retrieving” unobserved variables from the radar radial velocity data. For the DR analysis, an ensemble size of 40 appears to be a reasonable choice with the use of a 4-km horizontal resolution in the ensemble and a 1-km resolution in the high-resolution analysis. Several sensitivity tests show that the DR EnKF system is quite robust to different observation errors. A 4-km thinned data resolution is a compromise that is acceptable under the constraint of real-time applications. A data density of 8 km leads to a significant degradation in the analysis.


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