Ensemble-based simultaneous state and parameter estimation in a two-dimensional sea-breeze model

Altuǧ Aksoy, Fuqing Zhang, John W. Nielsen-Gammon

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110 Scopus citations


The performance of the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) in forced, dissipative flow under imperfect-model conditions is investigated through simultaneous state and parameter estimation where the source of model error is the uncertainty in the model parameters. A two-dimensional, nonlinear, hydrostatic, nonrotating, and incompressible sea-breeze model is used for this purpose with buoyancy and vorticity as the prognostic variables and a square root filter with covariance localization is employed. To control filter divergence caused by the narrowing of parameter variance, a "conditional covariance inflation" method is devised. Up to six model parameters are subjected to estimation attempts in various experiments. While the estimation of single imperfect parameters results in error of model variables that is indistinguishable from the respective perfect-parameter cases, increasing the number of estimated parameters to six inevitably leads to a decline in the level of improvement achieved by parameter estimation. However, the overall EnKF performance in terms of the error statistics is still superior to the situation where there is parameter error but no parameter estimation is performed. In fact, compared with that situation, the simultaneous estimation of six parameters reduces the average error in buoyancy and vorticity by 40% and 46%, respectively. Several aspects of the filter configuration (e.g., observation location, ensemble size, radius of influence, and parameter variance limit) are found to considerably influence the identifiability of the parameters. The parameter-dependent response to such factors implies strong nonlinearity between the parameters and the state of the model and suggests that a straightforward spatial covariance localization does not necessarily produce optimality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2951-2970
Number of pages20
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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