Tests of an ensemble Kalman filter for mesoscale and regional-scale data assimilation. Part IV: Comparison with 3DVAR in a month-long experiment

Zhiyong Meng, Fuqing Zhang

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Abstract

In previous works in this series study, an ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) was demonstrated to be promising for mesoscale and regional-scale data assimilation in increasingly realistic environments. Parts I and II examined the performance of the EnKF by assimilating simulated observations under both perfect-and imperfect-model assumptions. Part III explored the application of the EnKF to a real-data case study in comparison to a three-dimensional variational data assimilation (3DVAR) method in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. The current study extends the single-case real-data experiments over a period of 1 month to examine the long-term performance and comparison of both methods at the regional scales. It is found that the EnKF systematically outperforms 3DVAR for the 1-month period of interest in which both methods assimilate the same standard rawinsonde observations every 12 h over the central United States. Consistent with results from the real-data case study of Part III, the EnKF can benefit from using a multischeme ensemble that partially accounts for model errors in physical parameterizations. The benefit of using a multischeme ensemble (over a single-scheme ensemble) is more pronounced in the thermodynamic variables (including temperature and moisture) than in the wind fields. On average, the EnKF analyses lead to more accurate forecasts than the 3DVAR analyses when they are used to initialize 60 consecutive, deterministic 60-h forecast experiments for the month. Results also show that deterministic forecasts of up to 60 h initiated from the EnKF analyses consistently outperform the WRF forecasts initiated from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction final analysis field of the Global Forecast System.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3671-3682
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Volume136
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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