Performance Characteristics of a Pseudo-Operational Ensemble Kalman Filter

Torn, Ryan D.; Hakim, Gregory J.
October 2008
Monthly Weather Review;Oct2008, Vol. 136 Issue 10, p3947
Academic Journal
The 2-yr performance of a pseudo-operational (real time) limited-area ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) based on the Weather Research and Forecasting Model is described. This system assimilates conventional observations from surface stations, rawinsondes, the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), and cloud motion vectors every 6 h on a domain that includes the eastern North Pacific Ocean and western North America. Ensemble forecasts from this system and deterministic output from operational numerical weather prediction models during this same period are verified against rawinsonde and surface observation data. Relative to operational forecasts, the forecast from the ensemble-mean analysis has slightly larger errors in wind and temperature but smaller errors in moisture, even though satellite radiances are not assimilated by the EnKF. Time-averaged correlations indicate that assimilating ACARS and cloud wind data with flow-dependent error statistics provides corrections to the moisture field in the absence of direct observations of that field. Comparison with a control experiment in which a deterministic forecast is cycled without observation assimilation indicates that the skill in the EnKF’s forecasts results from assimilating observations and not from lateral boundary conditions or the model formulation. Furthermore, the ensemble variance is generally in good agreement with the ensemble-mean error and the spread increases monotonically with forecast hour.


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