A Hybrid ETKF–3DVAR Data Assimilation Scheme for the WRF Model. Part I: Observing System Simulation Experiment

Xuguang Wang; Barker, Dale M.; Snyder, Chris; Hamill, Thomas M.
December 2008
Monthly Weather Review;Dec2008, Vol. 136 Issue 12, p5116
Academic Journal
A hybrid ensemble transform Kalman filter–three-dimensional variational data assimilation (ETKF–3DVAR) system for the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model is introduced. The system is based on the existing WRF 3DVAR. Unlike WRF 3DVAR, which utilizes a simple, static covariance model to estimate the forecast-error statistics, the hybrid system combines ensemble covariances with the static covariances to estimate the complex, flow-dependent forecast-error statistics. Ensemble covariances are incorporated by using the extended control variable method during the variational minimization. The ensemble perturbations are maintained by the computationally efficient ETKF. As an initial attempt to test and understand the newly developed system, both an observing system simulation experiment under the perfect model assumption (Part I) and the real observation experiment (Part II) were conducted. In these pilot studies, the WRF was run over the North America domain at a coarse grid spacing (200 km) to emphasize synoptic scales, owing to limited computational resources and the large number of experiments conducted. In Part I, simulated radiosonde wind and temperature observations were assimilated. The results demonstrated that the hybrid data assimilation method provided more accurate analyses than the 3DVAR. The horizontal distributions of the errors demonstrated the hybrid analyses had larger improvements over data-sparse regions than over data-dense regions. It was also found that the ETKF ensemble spread in general agreed with the root-mean-square background forecast error for both the first- and second-order measures. Given the coarse resolution, relatively sparse observation network, and perfect model assumption adopted in this part of the study, caution is warranted when extrapolating the results to operational applications.


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