Data assimilation: From photon counts to Earth System forecasts
Mathieu, P.-P. and O'Neill, A. (2007) Data assimilation: From photon counts to Earth System forecasts. Remote Sensing of Environment, 112 (4). 1258 -1267 . ISSN 0034-4257
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2007.02.040
Data assimilation – the set of techniques whereby information from observing systems and models is combined optimally – is rapidly becoming prominent in endeavours to exploit Earth Observation for Earth sciences, including climate prediction. This paper explains the broad principles of data assimilation, outlining different approaches (optimal interpolation, three-dimensional and four-dimensional variational methods, the Kalman Filter), together with the approximations that are often necessary to make them practicable. After pointing out a variety of benefits of data assimilation, the paper then outlines some practical applications of the exploitation of Earth Observation by data assimilation in the areas of operational oceanography, chemical weather forecasting and carbon cycle modelling. Finally, some challenges for the future are noted.