The effect of nonlinearity on the variational assimilation of satellite observations using a simple column model
Rudd, A. (2009) The effect of nonlinearity on the variational assimilation of satellite observations using a simple column model. PhD thesis, University of Surrey.
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Cloud imagery is not currently used in numerical weather prediction (NWP) to extract the type of dynamical information that experienced forecasters have extracted subjectively for many years. For example, rapidly developing mid-latitude cyclones have characteristic signatures in the cloud imagery that are most fully appreciated from a sequence of images rather than from a single image. The Met Office is currently developing a technique to extract dynamical development information from satellite imagery using their full incremental 4D-Var (four-dimensional variational data assimilation) system. We investigate a simplified form of this technique in a fully nonlinear framework. We convert information on the vertical wind field, w(z), and profiles of temperature, T(z, t), and total water content, qt (z, t), as functions of height, z, and time, t, to a single brightness temperature by defining a 2D (vertical and time) variational assimilation testbed. The profiles of w, T and qt are updated using a simple vertical advection scheme. We define a basic cloud scheme to obtain the fractional cloud amount and, when combined with the temperature field, we convert this information into a brightness temperature, having developed a simple radiative transfer scheme. With the exception of some matrix inversion routines, all our code is developed from scratch. Throughout the development process we test all aspects of our 2D assimilation system, and then run identical twin experiments to try and recover information on the vertical velocity, from a sequence of observations of brightness temperature. This thesis contains a comprehensive description of our nonlinear models and assimilation system, and the first experimental results.