Assimilation of time-averaged observations in a quasi-geostrophic atmospheric jet model

Helga S. Huntley, Gregory J. Hakim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The problem of reconstructing past climates from a sparse network of noisy time-averaged observations is considered with a novel ensemble Kalman filter approach. Results for a sparse network of 100 idealized observations for a quasi-geostrophic model of a jet interacting with a mountain reveal that, for a wide range of observation averaging times, analysis errors are reduced by about 50% relative to the control case without assimilation. Results are robust to changes to observational error, the number of observations, and an imperfect model. Specifically, analysis errors are reduced relative to the control case for observations having errors up to three times the climatological variance for a fixed 100-station network, and for networks consisting of ten or more stations when observational errors are fixed at one-third the climatological variance. In the limit of small numbers of observations, station location becomes critically important, motivating an optimally determined network. A network of fifteen optimally determined observations reduces analysis errors by 30% relative to the control, as compared to 50% for a randomly chosen network of 100 observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)995-1009
Number of pages15
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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