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On the growth of errors in data assimilation systems

Bengtsson, L. (1988) On the growth of errors in data assimilation systems. In: Proceedings of the ECMWF Seminar on Data Assimilation and the use of satellite data. ECMWF, Reading, UK.

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Considerable progress has taken place in numerical weather prediction over the last decade. It has been possible to extend predictive skills in the extra-tropics of the Northern Hemisphere during the winter from less than five days to seven days. Similar improvements, albeit on a lower level, have taken place in the Southern Hemisphere. Another example of improvement in the forecasts is the prediction of intense synoptic phenomena such as cyclogenesis which on the whole is quite successful with the most advanced operational models (Bengtsson (1989), Gadd and Kruze (1988)). A careful examination shows that there are no single causes for the improvements in predictive skill, but instead they are due to several different factors encompassing the forecasting system as a whole (Bengtsson, 1985). In this paper we will focus our attention on the role of data-assimilation and the effect it may have on reducing the initial error and hence improving the forecast. The first part of the paper contains a theoretical discussion on error growth in simple data assimilation systems, following Leith (1983). In the second part we will apply the result on actual forecast data from ECMWF. The potential for further forecast improvements within the framework of the present observing system in the two hemispheres will be discussed.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Environmental Systems Science Centre
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:31911

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