Data assimilation for state and parameter estimation: application to morphodynamic modelling
Smith, P. J., Thornhill, G. D., Dance, S. L., Lawless, A. S., Mason, D. C. and Nichols, N. K. (2013) Data assimilation for state and parameter estimation: application to morphodynamic modelling. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 139 (671 Part B). pp. 314-327. ISSN 1477-870X
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1002/qj.1944
Data assimilation is predominantly used for state estimation; combining observational data with model predictions to produce an updated model state that most accurately approximates the true system state whilst keeping the model parameters fixed. This updated model state is then used to initiate the next model forecast. Even with perfect initial data, inaccurate model parameters will lead to the growth of prediction errors. To generate reliable forecasts we need good estimates of both the current system state and the model parameters. This paper presents research into data assimilation methods for morphodynamic model state and parameter estimation. First, we focus on state estimation and describe implementation of a three dimensional variational(3D-Var) data assimilation scheme in a simple 2D morphodynamic model of Morecambe Bay, UK. The assimilation of observations of bathymetry derived from SAR satellite imagery and a ship-borne survey is shown to significantly improve the predictive capability of the model over a 2 year run. Here, the model parameters are set by manual calibration; this is laborious and is found to produce different parameter values depending on the type and coverage of the validation dataset. The second part of this paper considers the problem of model parameter estimation in more detail. We explain how, by employing the technique of state augmentation, it is possible to use data assimilation to estimate uncertain model parameters concurrently with the model state. This approach removes inefficiencies associated with manual calibration and enables more effective use of observational data. We outline the development of a novel hybrid sequential 3D-Var data assimilation algorithm for joint state-parameter estimation and demonstrate its efficacy using an idealised 1D sediment transport model. The results of this study are extremely positive and suggest that there is great potential for the use of data assimilation-based state-parameter estimation in coastal morphodynamic modelling.