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A sampling method for quantifying the information content of IASI channels

Fowler, A. M. (2017) A sampling method for quantifying the information content of IASI channels. Monthly Weather Review, 145 (2). pp. 709-725. ISSN 0027-0644

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/MWR-D-16-0069.1


There is a vast amount of information about the atmosphere available from instruments on board satellites. One example is the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) instrument, which measures radiances emitted from Earth’s atmosphere and surface in 8461 channels. It is difficult to transmit, store, and assimilate such a large amount of data. A practical solution to this has been to select a subset of a few hundred channels based on those that contain the most useful information. Different measures of information content for objective channel selection have been suggested for application to variational data assimilation. These include mutual information and the degrees of freedom for signal. To date, the calculation of these measures of information content has been based on the linear theory that is at the heart of operational variational data assimilation. However, the retrieval of information about the atmosphere from the satellite radiances can be highly nonlinear. Here, a sampling method for calculating the mutual information that is free from assumptions about the linearity of the relationship between the observed radiances and the state variables is examined. It is found that large linearization errors can indeed lead to large discrepancies in the value of mutual information. How this new estimate of information content can be used in channel selection is addressed, with particular attention given to the efficiency of the new method. It is anticipated that accounting for the nonlinearity in the channel selection will be beneficial when using nonlinear data assimilation methods currently in development.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:68961
Uncontrolled Keywords:Sampling; Satellite observations; Error analysis; Statistical techniques
Publisher:American Meteorological Society


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