Dynamical aspects of atmospheric data assimilation in the tropics
A faithful depiction of the tropical atmosphere requires three-dimensional sets of observations. Despite the increasing amount of observations presently available, these will hardly ever encompass the entire atmosphere and, in addition, observations have errors. Additional (background) information will always be required to complete the picture. Valuable added information comes from the physical laws governing the flow, usually mediated via a numerical weather prediction (NWP) model. These models are, however, never going to be error-free, why a reliable estimate of their errors poses a real challenge since the whole truth will never be within our grasp. The present thesis addresses the question of improving the analysis procedures for NWP in the tropics. Improvements are sought by addressing the following issues:- the efficiency of the internal model adjustment, - the potential of the reliable background-error information, as compared to observations,- the impact of a new, space-borne line-of-sight wind measurements, and- the usefulness of multivariate relationships for data assimilation in the tropics.Most NWP assimilation schemes are effectively univariate near the equator. In this thesis, a multivariate formulation of the variational data assimilation in the tropics has been developed. The proposed background-error model supports the mass-wind coupling based on convectively-coupled equatorial waves. The resulting assimilation model produces balanced analysis increments and hereby increases the efficiency of all types of observations.Idealized adjustment and multivariate analysis experiments highlight the importance of direct wind measurements in the tropics. In particular, the presented results confirm the superiority of wind observations compared to mass data, in spite of the exact multivariate relationships available from the background information. The internal model adjustment is also more efficient for wind observations than for mass data. In accordance with these findings, new satellite wind observations are expected to contribute towards the improvement of NWP and climate modeling in the tropics. Although incomplete, the new wind-field information has the potential to reduce uncertainties in the tropical dynamical fields, if used together with the existing satellite mass-field measurements.The results obtained by applying the new background-error representation to the tropical short-range forecast errors of a state-of-art NWP model suggest that achieving useful tropical multivariate relationships may be feasible within an operational NWP environment.
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Earth sciences; Atmosphere and hydrosphere sciences; Meteorology; tropical data assimilation; variational methods; mass-wind coupling
Date of Publication:01/01/2004