The use of bred vectors in the NCEP global 3D variational analysis system

Zhao Xia Pu, Eugenia Kalnay, David Parrish, Wanshu Wu, Zoltan Toth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


The errors in the first-guess (forecast field) of an analysis system vary from day to day, but, as in all current operational data assimilation systems, forecast error covariances are assumed to be constant in time in the NCEP operational three-dimensional variational analysis system (known as a spectral statistical interpolation or SSI). This study focuses on the impact of modifying the error statistics by including effects of the "errors of the day" on the analysis system. An estimate of forecast uncertainty, as defined from the bred growing vectors of the NCEP operational global ensemble forecast, is applied in the NCEP operational SSI analysis system. The growing vectors are used to estimate the spatially and temporally varying degree of uncertainty in the first-guess forecasts used in the analysis. The measure of uncertainty is defined by a ratio of the local amplitude of the growing vectors, relative to a background amplitude measure over a large area. This ratio is used in the SSI system for adjusting the observational error term (giving more weight to observations in regions of larger forecast errors). Preliminary experiments with the low-resolution global system show positive impact of this virtually cost-free method on the quality of the analysis and medium-range weather forecasts, encouraging further tests for operational use. The results of a 45-day parallel run, and a discussion of other methods to take advantage of the knowledge of the day-to-day variation in forecast uncertainties provided by the NCEP ensemble forecast system, are also presented in the paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-695
Number of pages7
JournalWeather and Forecasting
Issue number3 PART II
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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