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A pragmatic strategy for implementing spatially correlated observation errors in an operational system: an application to Doppler radial winds

Simonin, D., Waller, J. A., Ballard, S. P., Dance, S. L. and Nichols, N. K. (2019) A pragmatic strategy for implementing spatially correlated observation errors in an operational system: an application to Doppler radial winds. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 145 (723). pp. 2772-2790. ISSN 1477-870X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/qj.3592

Abstract/Summary

Recent research has shown that high resolution observations, such as Doppler radar radial winds, exhibit spatial correlations. High resolution observations are routinely assimilated into convection permitting numerical weather prediction models assuming their errors are uncorrelated. To avoid violating this assumption observation density is severely reduced. To improve the quantity of observations used and the impact that they have on the forecast requires the introduction of full, correlated, error statistics. Some operational centres have introduced satellite inter-channel observation error correlations and obtained improved analysis’ accuracy and forecast skill scores. Here we present a strategy for implementing spatially correlated observation errors in an operational system. We then provide the first demonstration of the practical feasibility of incorporating spatially correlated Doppler radial wind error statistics in the Met Office numerical weather prediction system. Inclusion of correlated Doppler radial winds error statistics has little impact on the computation cost of the data assimilation system, even with a four-fold increase in the number of Doppler radial winds observations assimilated. Using the correlated observation error statistics with denser observations produces increments with shorter length scales than the control. Initial forecast trials show a neutral to positive impact on forecast skill overall, notably for quantitative precipitation forecasts. There is potential to improve forecast skill by optimising the use of Doppler radial winds and applying the technique to other observation types.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:84168
Publisher:Royal Meteorological Society

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