Articles | Volume 16, issue 13
Research article
07 Jul 2016
Research article |  | 07 Jul 2016

Hybrid ensemble 4DVar assimilation of stratospheric ozone using a global shallow water model

Douglas R. Allen, Karl W. Hoppel, and David D. Kuhl

Abstract. Wind extraction from stratospheric ozone (O3) assimilation is examined using a hybrid ensemble 4-D variational assimilation (4DVar) shallow water model (SWM) system coupled to the tracer advection equation. Stratospheric radiance observations are simulated using global observations of the SWM fluid height (Z), while O3 observations represent sampling by a typical polar-orbiting satellite. Four ensemble sizes were examined (25, 50, 100, and 1518 members), with the largest ensemble equal to the number of dynamical state variables. The optimal length scale for ensemble localization was found by tuning an ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF). This scale was then used for localizing the ensemble covariances that were blended with conventional covariances in the hybrid 4DVar experiments. Both optimal length scale and optimal blending coefficient increase with ensemble size, with optimal blending coefficients varying from 0.2–0.5 for small ensembles to 0.5–1.0 for large ensembles. The hybrid system outperforms conventional 4DVar for all ensemble sizes, while for large ensembles the hybrid produces similar results to the offline EnKF. Assimilating O3 in addition to Z benefits the winds in the hybrid system, with the fractional improvement in global vector wind increasing from  ∼  35 % with 25 and 50 members to  ∼  50 % with 1518 members. For the smallest ensembles (25 and 50 members), the hybrid 4DVar assimilation improves the zonal wind analysis over conventional 4DVar in the Northern Hemisphere (winter-like) region and also at the Equator, where Z observations alone have difficulty constraining winds due to lack of geostrophy. For larger ensembles (100 and 1518 members), the hybrid system results in both zonal and meridional wind error reductions, relative to 4DVar, across the globe.

Short summary
This study examines the extraction of wind information from assimilation of ozone observations in a simplified model of the atmosphere. Understanding this process is important for the stratosphere (10–50 km altitude), where wind observations are sparse. A key aspect is using multiple forecasts (ensembles) to determine the error correlations between ozone and wind. Experiments using different ensemble sizes show that ozone benefits winds more when ensemble information is blended into the system.
Final-revised paper