Articles | Volume 15, issue 10
Research article
27 May 2015
Research article |  | 27 May 2015

Wind extraction potential from ensemble Kalman filter assimilation of stratospheric ozone using a global shallow water model

D. R. Allen, K. W. Hoppel, and D. D. Kuhl

Abstract. The feasibility of extracting wind information from stratospheric ozone observations is tested using ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) data assimilation (DA) and a global shallow water model that includes advection of an ozone-like tracer. Simulated observations are created from a truth run (TR) that resembles the Northern Hemisphere winter stratosphere with a polar vortex disturbed by planetary-scale wave forcing. Ozone observations mimic sampling of a polar-orbiting satellite, while geopotential height observations are randomly placed in space and time. EnKF experiments are performed assimilating ozone, height, or both, over a 10-day period. The DA is also implemented using two different pairs of flow variables: zonal and meridional wind (EnKF-uv) and stream function and velocity potential (EnKF-ψχ). Each experiment is tuned for optimal localization length, while the ensemble spread is adaptively inflated using the TR. The experiments are evaluated using the maximum wind extraction potential (WEP). Ozone only assimilation improves winds (WEP = 46% for EnKF-uv, and 58% for EnKF-ψχ), but suffers from spurious gravity wave generation. Application of nonlinear normal mode initialization (NMI) greatly reduces the unwanted imbalance and increases the WEP for EnKF-uv (84%) and EnKF-ψχ (81%). Assimilation of only height observations also improved the winds (WEP = 60% for EnKF-uv, and 69% for EnKF-ψχ), with much less imbalance compared to the ozone experiment. The assimilation of both height and ozone performed the best, with WEP increasing to ~87% (~90% with NMI) for both EnKF-uv and EnKF-ψχ, demonstrating that wind extraction from ozone assimilation can be beneficial even in a data-rich environment. Ozone assimilation particularly improves the tropical winds, which are not well constrained by height observations due to lack of geostrophy.

Short summary
While direct wind observations are routinely made in the troposphere (0-10km), in the stratosphere (above 10km) wind observations are sparse. This study examines the potential of using ozone observations to infer stratospheric wind. This novel approach is tested with a data assimilation system based on a simplified model of the atmosphere, the so-called "shallow water model". It is shown that assimilation of ozone observations significantly benefits winds, particularly in the tropics.
Final-revised paper