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Free Content The impact of model-error correlation on regional data assimilative models and their observational arrays

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Data assimilative models often minimize a penalty functional that measures model adjustment and model-data misfit. The penalty functional builds assumptions about model error into the analysis. Usually, errors from different parts of the model (e.g., dynamics and boundary conditions) are presumed to be uncorrelated. This is clearly not a valid assumption in regional models where uncertain large-scale forcing affects open-ocean boundary conditions. In this study, calculations with a regional wind-driven inverse model provide a specific example where model error from uncertain wind stress is correlated with model error from uncertain open boundary conditions. This physically realistic scenario motivates development of a more general penalty functional that includes model-error correlation. In fact, model-error correlations must be included in order to meet the objective of making the open-ocean boundaries behave like the open ocean. Statistical issues for the generalized inverse model are described in the context of objective analysis. Implications for array design are addressed. For data assimilative models that incorrectly neglect model-error correlation, data should not come from open-ocean boundary regions. Rather, data should come from the interior of the regional domain. There is no such restriction on data placement for the assimilative model that correctly accounts for model-error correlation.

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Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: 2001-11-01

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  • The Journal of Marine Research publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. In the area of biology, studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. Authors benefit from thorough reviews of their manuscripts, where an attempt is made to maximize clarity. The time between submission and publication is kept to a minimum; there is no page charge.
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