Integration of a 3D Variational data assimilation scheme with a coastal area morphodynamic model of Morecambe Bay
Thornhill, G. D., Mason, D. C., Dance, S. L., Lawless, A. S., Nichols, N. K. and Forbes, H. R. (2012) Integration of a 3D Variational data assimilation scheme with a coastal area morphodynamic model of Morecambe Bay. Coastal Engineering, 69. pp. 82-96. ISSN 0378-3839
To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.coastaleng.2012.05.010
This paper describes the implementation of a 3D variational (3D-Var) data assimilation scheme for a morphodynamic model applied to Morecambe Bay, UK. A simple decoupled hydrodynamic and sediment transport model is combined with a data assimilation scheme to investigate the ability of such methods to improve the accuracy of the predicted bathymetry. The inverse forecast error covariance matrix is modelled using a Laplacian approximation which is calibrated for the length scale parameter required. Calibration is also performed for the Soulsby-van Rijn sediment transport equations. The data used for assimilation purposes comprises waterlines derived from SAR imagery covering the entire period of the model run, and swath bathymetry data collected by a ship-borne survey for one date towards the end of the model run. A LiDAR survey of the entire bay carried out in November 2005 is used for validation purposes. The comparison of the predictive ability of the model alone with the model-forecast-assimilation system demonstrates that using data assimilation significantly improves the forecast skill. An investigation of the assimilation of the swath bathymetry as well as the waterlines demonstrates that the overall improvement is initially large, but decreases over time as the bathymetry evolves away from that observed by the survey. The result of combining the calibration runs into a pseudo-ensemble provides a higher skill score than for a single optimized model run. A brief comparison of the Optimal Interpolation assimilation method with the 3D-Var method shows that the two schemes give similar results.
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