Articles | Volume 10, issue 5
12 Mar 2010
 | 12 Mar 2010

Applying an ensemble Kalman filter to the assimilation of AERONET observations in a global aerosol transport model

N. A. J. Schutgens, T. Miyoshi, T. Takemura, and T. Nakajima

Abstract. We present a global aerosol assimilation system based on an Ensemble Kalman filter, which we believe leads to a significant improvement in aerosol fields. The ensemble allows realistic, spatially and temporally variable model covariances (unlike other assimilation schemes). As the analyzed variables are mixing ratios (prognostic variables of the aerosol transport model), there is no need for the extra assumptions required by previous assimilation schemes analyzing aerosol optical thickness (AOT).

We describe the implementation of this assimilation system and in particular the construction of the ensemble. This ensemble should represent our estimate of current model uncertainties. Consequently, we construct the ensemble around randomly modified emission scenarios.

The system is tested with AERONET observations of AOT and Angström exponent (AE). Particular care is taken in prescribing the observational errors. The assimilated fields (AOT and AE) are validated through independent AERONET, SKYNET and MODIS Aqua observations. We show that, in general, assimilation of AOT observations leads to improved modelling of global AOT, while assimilation of AE only improves modelling when the AOT is high.

Final-revised paper