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Inhomogeneous Background Error Modeling for WRF-Var Using the NMC Method


Background error modeling plays a key role in a variational data assimilation system. The National Meteorological Center (NMC) method has been widely used in variational data assimilation systems to generate a forecast error ensemble from which the climatological background error covariance can be modeled. In this paper, the characteristics of the background error modeling via the NMC method are investigated for the variational data assimilation system of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF-Var) Model. The background error statistics are extracted from short-term 3-km-resolution forecasts in June, July, and August 2012 over a limited-area domain. It is found 1) that background error variances vary from month to month and also have a feature of diurnal variations in the low-level atmosphere and 2) that u- and υ-wind variances are underestimated and their autocorrelation length scales are overestimated when the default control variable option in WRF-Var is used. A new approach of control variable transform (CVT) is proposed to model the background error statistics based on the NMC method. The new approach is capable of extracting inhomogeneous and anisotropic climatological information from the forecast error ensemble obtained via the NMC method. Single observation assimilation experiments show that the proposed method not only has the merit of incorporating geographically dependent covariance information, but also is able to produce a multivariate analysis. The results from the data assimilaton and forecast study of a real convective case show that the use of the new CVT improves synoptic weather system and precipitation forecasts for up to 12 h.

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