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An idealized study of coupled atmosphere-ocean 4D-Var in the presence of model error

Fowler, A. M. ORCID: and Lawless, A. S. (2016) An idealized study of coupled atmosphere-ocean 4D-Var in the presence of model error. Monthly Weather Review, 144 (10). pp. 4007-4030. ISSN 0027-0644

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/MWR-D-15-0420.1


Atmosphere only and ocean only variational data assimilation (DA) schemes are able to use window lengths that are optimal for the error growth rate, non-linearity and observation density of the respective systems. Typical window lengths are 6-12 hours for the atmosphere and 2-10 days for the ocean. However, in the implementation of coupled DA schemes it has been necessary to match the window length of the ocean to that of the atmosphere, which may potentially sacrifice the accuracy of the ocean analysis in order to provide a more balanced coupled state. This paper investigates how extending the window length in the presence of model error affects both the analysis of the coupled state and the initialized forecast when using coupled DA with differing degrees of coupling. Results are illustrated using an idealized single column model of the coupled atmosphere-ocean system. It is found that the analysis error from an uncoupled DA scheme can be smaller than that from a coupled analysis at the initial time, due to faster error growth in the coupled system. However, this does not necessarily lead to a more accurate forecast due to imbalances in the coupled state. Instead coupled DA is more able to update the initial state to reduce the impact of the model error on the accuracy of the forecast. The effect of model error is potentially most detrimental in the weakly coupled formulation due to the inconsistency between the coupled model used in the outer loop and uncoupled models used in the inner loop.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)
ID Code:65663
Publisher:American Meteorological Society


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