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Hamill T. M. and J. S. Whitaker (January 2011): What Constrains Spread Growth in Forecasts Initialized from Ensemble Kalman Filters? Mon. Weather Rev., 139 (1), 117-131. doi:10.1175/2010MWR3246.1

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The spread of an ensemble of weather predictions initialized from an ensemble Kalman filter may grow slowly relative to other methods for initializing ensemble predictions, degrading its skill. Several possible causes of the slow spread growth were evaluated in perfect- and imperfect-model experiments with a two-layer primitive equation spectral model of the atmosphere. The causes examined were the covariance localization, the additive noise used to stabilize the assimilation method and parameterize the system error, and the model error itself. In these experiments, the flow-independent additive noise was the biggest factor in constraining spread growth. Preevolving additive noise perturbations were tested as a way to make the additive noise more flow dependent. This modestly improved the data assimilation and ensemble predictions, both in the two-layer model results and in a brief test of the assimilation of real observations into a global multilevel spectral primitive equation model. More generally, these results suggest that methods for treating model error in ensemble Kalman filters that greatly reduce the flow dependency of the background-error covariances may increase the filter analysis error and decrease the rate of forecast spread growth.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: PSD Publications
Divisions: Physical Sciences Division
DOI: 10.1175/2010MWR3246.1