Articles | Volume 13, issue 6
Research article
27 Mar 2013
Research article |  | 27 Mar 2013

Ensemble filter based estimation of spatially distributed parameters in a mesoscale dust model: experiments with simulated and real data

V. M. Khade, J. A. Hansen, J. S. Reid, and D. L. Westphal

Abstract. The ensemble adjustment Kalman filter (EAKF) is used to estimate the erodibility fraction parameter field in a coupled meteorology and dust aerosol model (Coupled Ocean/Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System (COAMPS)) over the Sahara desert. Erodibility is often employed as the key parameter to map dust source. It is used along with surface winds (or surface wind stress) to calculate dust emissions. Using the Saharan desert as a test bed, a perfect model Observation System Simulation Experiments (OSSEs) with 40 ensemble members, and observations of aerosol optical depth (AOD), the EAKF is shown to recover correct values of erodibility at about 80% of the points in the domain. It is found that dust advected from upstream grid points acts as noise and complicates erodibility estimation. It is also found that the rate of convergence is significantly impacted by the structure of the initial distribution of erodibility estimates; isotropic initial distributions exhibit slow convergence, while initial distributions with geographically localized structure converge more quickly. Experiments using observations of Deep Blue AOD retrievals from the MODIS satellite sensor result in erodibility estimates that are considerably lower than the values used operationally. Verification shows that the use of the tuned erodibility field results in better predictions of AOD over the west Sahara and the Arabian Peninsula.

Final-revised paper