A regime-dependent balanced control variable based on potential vorticity
Bannister, R.N. and Cullen, M.J.P. (2007) A regime-dependent balanced control variable based on potential vorticity. In: ECMWF Workshop on Flow-dependent aspects of data assimilation, 11-13 June 2007, ECMWF, Reading, UK, pp. 101-112.
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In this paper it is argued that rotational wind is not the best choice of leading control variable for variational data assimilation, and an alternative is suggested and tested. A rotational wind parameter is used in most global variational assimilation systems as a pragmatic way of approximately representing the balanced component of the assimilation increments. In effect, rotational wind is treated as a proxy for potential vorticity, but one that it is potentially not a good choice in flow regimes characterised by small Burger number. This paper reports on an alternative set of control variables which are based around potential vorticity. This gives rise to a new formulation of the background error covariances for the Met Office's variational assimilation system, which leads to flow dependency. It uses similar balance relationships to traditional schemes, but recognises the existence of unbalanced rotational wind which is used with a new anti-balance relationship. The new scheme is described and its performance is evaluated and compared to a traditional scheme using a sample of diagnostics.