A Comparison of Variational and Ensemble-Based Data Assimilation Systems for Reanalysis of Sparse Observations

Whitaker, Jeffrey S.; Compo, Gilbert P.; Thépaut, Jean-Noël
June 2009
Monthly Weather Review;Jun2009, Vol. 137 Issue 6, p1991
Academic Journal
An observing system experiment, simulating a surface-only observing network representative of the 1930s, is carried out with three- and four-dimensional variational data assimilation systems (3D-VAR and 4D-VAR) and an ensemble-based data assimilation system (EnsDA). It is found that 4D-VAR and EnsDA systems produce analyses of comparable quality and that both are much more accurate than the analyses produced by the 3D-VAR system. The EnsDA system also produces useful estimates of analysis error, which are not directly available from the variational systems.


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