Radar data assimilation in the Canadian high-resolution ensemble Kalman filter system: Performance and verification with real summer cases

Weiguang Chang, Kao Shen Chung, Luc Fillion, Seung Jong Baek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

An 80-member high-resolution ensemble Kalman filter (HREnKF) is implemented for assimilating radar observations with the Canadian Meteorological Center's (CMC's) Global Environmental Multiscale Limited-Area Model (GEM-LAM). This system covers the Montréal, Canada, region and assimilates radar data from the McGill Radar Observatory with 4-km data thinning. The GEM-LAM operates in fully nonhydrostatic mode with 58 hybrid vertical levels and 1-km horizontal grid spacing. As a first step toward full radar data assimilation, only radial velocities are directly assimilated in this study. The HREnKF is applied on three 2011 summer cases having different precipitation structures: squall-line structure, isolated small-scale structures, and widespread stratiform precipitation. The short-term (<2 h) accuracy of the HREnKF analyses and forecasts is examined. In HREnKF, the ensemble spread is sufficient to cover the estimated error from innovations and lead to filter convergence. It results in part from a realistic initiation of HREnKF data assimilation cycle by using a Canadian regional EnKF system (itself coupled to a global EnKF) working at meso- and synoptic scales. The filter convergence is confirmed by the HREnKF background fields gradually approaching to radar observations as the assimilation cycling proceeds. At each analysis step, it is clearly shown that unobserved variables are significantly modified through HREnKF cross correlation of errors from the ensemble. Radar reflectivity observations are used to verify the improvements in analyses and short-term forecasts achievable by assimilating only radial velocities. Further developments of the analysis system are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2118-2138
Number of pages21
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Volume142
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2014

Keywords

  • Data assimilation
  • Ensembles
  • Forecast verification/skill
  • Kalman filters
  • Radars/Radar observations

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