Weakly coupled ocean-atmosphere data assimilation in the ECMWF NWP system

Weakly coupled ocean-atmosphere data assimilation in the ECMWF NWP system
Technical memorandum
Date Published
Secondary Title
ECMWF Technical Memoranda

Numerical weather prediction models are including an increasing number of components of the Earth system. In particular, every forecast now issued by the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) runs with a 3D ocean model and a sea ice model below the atmosphere. Initialisation of different components using different methods and on different timescales can lead to inconsistencies when they are combined in the full system. Historically, the methods for initialising the ocean and the atmosphere have typically been developed separately. This paper describes an approach for combining the existing ocean and atmospheric analyses into what we categorise as a weakly coupled assimilation scheme. Here we show the performance improvements for the atmosphere by having a weakly coupled ocean–atmosphere assimilation system compared to an uncoupled system. Using numerical weather prediction diagnostics we show that forecast errors are decreased compared to forecasts initialised from an uncoupled analysis. Further, a detailed investigation into spatial coverage of sea ice concentration in the Baltic sea shows much more realistic structure given by the weakly coupled analysis. By introducing the weakly coupled ocean–atmosphere analysis, the ocean analysis becomes a critical part of the numerical weather prediction system and provides a platform from which to build ever stronger forms of analysis coupling.


URL https://www.ecmwf.int/en/elibrary/80927-weakly-coupled-ocean-atmosphere-data-assimilation-ecmwf-nwp-system
DOI 10.21957/eqe8rx02