Adaptive sampling with the ensemble transform Kalman filter. Part II: Field program implementation

S. J. Majumdar, C. H. Bishop, B. J. Etherton, Z. Toth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


The practical application of the ensemble transform Kalman filter (ET KF), used in recent Winter Storm Reconnaissance (WSR) programs by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), is described. The ET KF assesses the value of targeted observations taken at future times in improving forecasts for preselected critical events. It is based on a serial assimilation framework that makes it an order of magnitude faster than its predecessor, the ensemble transform technique. The speed of the ET KF enabled several different forecast scenarios to be assessed for targeting during recent WSR programs. Each potential observational network is broken down into idealized routine and adaptive components. The adaptive component represents a predesigned flight track along which GPS dropwindsondes are released. For a large number of flight tracks, the ET KF estimates the forecast error reducing effects of these observations (via the "signal variance"). The track that maximizes the average forecast signal variance within a selected verification region is deemed optimal for targeting. Secondary flight tracks can also be chosen using serial assimilation, by calculating the signal variance for each flight track given that the primary track had already been selected. For the second consecutive year the ET KF was able to estimate, via a statistical rescaling, the variance of NCEP signal realizations produced by the dropwindsonde data. A monotonic increasing relationship between the ET KF signal variance and the reduction in NCEP forecast error variance due to the targeted observations was then deduced for the operational 2001 WSR program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1356-1369
Number of pages14
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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