Traditional ensemble Kalman filter data assimilation methods make implicit assumptions of Gaussianity and linearity that are strongly violated by many important Earth system applications. For instance, bounded quantities like the amount of a tracer and sea ice fractional coverage cannot be accurately represented by a Gaussian that is unbounded by definition. Nonlinear relations between observations and model state variables abound. Examples include the relation between a remotely sensed radiance and the column of atmospheric temperatures, or the relation between cloud amount and water vapor quantity. Part I of this paper described a very general data assimilation framework for computing observation increments for non-Gaussian prior distributions and likelihoods. These methods can respect bounds and other non-Gaussian aspects of observed variables. However, these benefits can be lost when observation increments are used to update state variables using the linear regression that is part of standard ensemble Kalman filter algorithms. Here, regression of observation increments is performed in a space where variables are transformed by the probit and probability integral transforms, a specific type of Gaussian anamorphosis. This method can enforce appropriate bounds for all quantities and deal much more effectively with nonlinear relations between observations and state variables. Important enhancements like localization and inflation can be performed in the transformed space. Results are provided for idealized bivariate distributions and for cycling assimilation in a low-order dynamical system. Implications for improved data assimilation across Earth system applications are discussed.
Linear transformations are widely used in data assimilation for covariance modeling, for reducing dimensionality (such as averaging dense observations to form “superobs”), and for managing sampling error in ensemble data assimilation. Here we describe a linear transformation that is optimal in the sense that, in the transformed space, the state variables and observations have uncorrelated errors, and a diagonal gain matrix in the update step. We conjecture, and provide numerical evidence, that the transformation is the best possible to precede covariance localization in an ensemble Kalman filter. A central feature of this transformation in the update step are scalars, which we term canonical observation operators (COOs), that relate pairs of transformed observations and state variables and rank‐order those pairs by their influence in the update. We show for an idealized problem that sample‐based estimates of the COOs, in conjunction with covariance localization for the sample covariance, can approximate well the true values, but a practical implementation of the transformation for high‐dimensional applications remains a subject for future research. The COOs also completely describe important properties of the update step, such as observation‐state mutual information, signal‐to‐noise and degrees of freedom for signal, and so give new insights, including relations among reduced‐rank approximations to variational schemes, particle‐filter weight degeneracy, and the local ensemble transform Kalman filter.more » « less
- NSF-PAR ID:
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- DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
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- Journal Name:
- Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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