Continuous data assimilation for global numerical weather prediction

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Lean , P , Holm , E V , Bonavita , M , Bormann , N , McNally , A P & Järvinen , H 2021 , ' Continuous data assimilation for global numerical weather prediction ' , Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society , vol. 147 , no. 734 , pp. 273-288 .

Title: Continuous data assimilation for global numerical weather prediction
Author: Lean, P.; Holm, E. V.; Bonavita, M.; Bormann, N.; McNally, A. P.; Järvinen, Heikki
Contributor organization: Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR)
Date: 2021-01
Language: eng
Number of pages: 16
Belongs to series: Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
ISSN: 0035-9009
Abstract: A new configuration of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) incremental 4D-Var data assimilation (DA) system is introduced which builds upon the quasi-continuous DA concept proposed in the mid-1990s. Rather than working with a fixed set of observations, the new 4D-Var configuration exploits the near-continuous stream of incoming observations by introducing recently arrived observations at each outer loop iteration of the assimilation. This allows the analysis to benefit from more recent observations. Additionally, by decoupling the start time of the DA calculations from the observational data cut-off time, real-time forecasting applications can benefit from more expensive analysis configurations that previously could not have been considered. In this work we present results of a systematic comparison of the performance of a Continuous DA system against that of two more traditional baseline 4D-Var configurations. We show that the quality of the analysis produced by the new, more continuous configuration is comparable to that of a conventional baseline that has access to all of the observations in each of the outer loops, which is a configuration not feasible in real-time operational numerical weather prediction. For real-time forecasting applications, the Continuous DA framework allows configurations which clearly outperform the best available affordable non-continuous configuration. Continuous DA became operational at ECMWF in June 2019 and led to significant 2 to 3% reductions in medium-range forecast root mean square errors, which is roughly equivalent to 2-3 hr of additional predictive skill.
Subject: 4D-Var
continuous data assimilation
data assimilation
operational numerical weather prediction
114 Physical sciences
Peer reviewed: Yes
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: acceptedVersion

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