Articles | Volume 16, issue 6
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 3927–3951, 2016
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 3927–3951, 2016

Research article 23 Mar 2016

Research article | 23 Mar 2016

Development of the Ensemble Navy Aerosol Analysis Prediction System (ENAAPS) and its application of the Data Assimilation Research Testbed (DART) in support of aerosol forecasting

Juli I. Rubin1, Jeffrey S. Reid2, James A. Hansen2, Jeffrey L. Anderson3, Nancy Collins3, Timothy J. Hoar3, Timothy Hogan2, Peng Lynch4, Justin McLay2, Carolyn A. Reynolds2, Walter R. Sessions4, Douglas L. Westphal2, and Jianglong Zhang5 Juli I. Rubin et al.
  • 1National Research Council, Washington D.C.; Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, CA, USA
  • 2Marine Meteorology Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, CA, USA
  • 3National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 4CSC, Inc., Monterey, CA, USA
  • 5Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, USA

Abstract. An ensemble-based forecast and data assimilation system has been developed for use in Navy aerosol forecasting. The system makes use of an ensemble of the Navy Aerosol Analysis Prediction System (ENAAPS) at 1 × 1°, combined with an ensemble adjustment Kalman filter from NCAR's Data Assimilation Research Testbed (DART). The base ENAAPS-DART system discussed in this work utilizes the Navy Operational Global Analysis Prediction System (NOGAPS) meteorological ensemble to drive offline NAAPS simulations coupled with the DART ensemble Kalman filter architecture to assimilate bias-corrected MODIS aerosol optical thickness (AOT) retrievals. This work outlines the optimization of the 20-member ensemble system, including consideration of meteorology and source-perturbed ensemble members as well as covariance inflation. Additional tests with 80 meteorological and source members were also performed. An important finding of this work is that an adaptive covariance inflation method, which has not been previously tested for aerosol applications, was found to perform better than a temporally and spatially constant covariance inflation. Problems were identified with the constant inflation in regions with limited observational coverage. The second major finding of this work is that combined meteorology and aerosol source ensembles are superior to either in isolation and that both are necessary to produce a robust system with sufficient spread in the ensemble members as well as realistic correlation fields for spreading observational information. The inclusion of aerosol source ensembles improves correlation fields for large aerosol source regions, such as smoke and dust in Africa, by statistically separating freshly emitted from transported aerosol species. However, the source ensembles have limited efficacy during long-range transport. Conversely, the meteorological ensemble generates sufficient spread at the synoptic scale to enable observational impact through the ensemble data assimilation. The optimized ensemble system was compared to the Navy's current operational aerosol forecasting system, which makes use of NAVDAS-AOD (NRL Atmospheric Variational Data Assimilation System for aerosol optical depth), a 2-D variational data assimilation system. Overall, the two systems had statistically insignificant differences in root-mean-squared error (RMSE), bias, and correlation relative to AERONET-observed AOT. However, the ensemble system is able to better capture sharp gradients in aerosol features compared to the 2DVar system, which has a tendency to smooth out aerosol events. Such skill is not easily observable in bulk metrics. Further, the ENAAPS-DART system will allow for new avenues of model development, such as more efficient lidar and surface station assimilation as well as adaptive source functions. At this early stage of development, the parity with the current variational system is encouraging.

Short summary
This work tests the use of an ensemble prediction system for aerosol forecasting, including an ensemble adjustment Kalman filter for MODIS AOT assimilation. Key findings include (1) meteorology and source-perturbed ensembles are needed to capture long-range transport and near-source aerosol events, (2) adaptive covariance inflation is recommended for assimilating spatially heterogeneous observations and (3) the ensemble system captures sharp gradients relative to a deterministic/variational system.
Final-revised paper