An Approach to Assess Observation Impact Based on Observation-Minus-Forecast ResidualsLangland and Baker (2004) introduced an approach to assess the impact of observations on the forecasts. In that, a state-space aspect of the forecast is defined and a procedure is derived that relates changes in the aspect with changes in the initial conditions associated with the assimilation of observations) ultimately providing information about the impact of individual observations on the forecast. Some features of the approach are to be noted. The typical choice of forecast aspect employed in related works is rather arbitrary and leads to an incomplete assessment of the observing system. Furthermore, the state-space forecast aspect requires availability of a verification state that should ideally be uncorrelated with the forecast but in practice is not. Lastly, the approach involves the adjoint operator of the entire data assimilation system and as such it is constrained by the validity of this operator. In this presentation, an observation-space metric is used that, for a relatively time-homogeneous observing system, allows inferring observation impact on the forecast without some of the limitations above. Specifically, using observation-minus-forecast residuals leads to an approach with the following features: (i) it suggests a rather natural choice of forecast aspect, directly linked to the analysis system and providing full assessment of the observations; (ii) it naturally avoids introducing undesirable correlations in the forecast aspect by verifying against the observations; and (iii) it does not involve linearization and use of adjoints; therefore being applicable to any length of forecast. The state and observation-space approaches might be complementary to some degree, and involve different limitations and complexities. Illustrations are given using the NASA GEOS-5 data.
Todling, Ricardo (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)