Estimation of Ocean Biogeochemical Parameters in an Earth System Model Using the Dual One Step Ahead Smoother: A Twin Experiment

Singh, T., Counillon, F., Tjiputra, J., Wang Y., El Gharamti, M. 2022: Estimation of Ocean Biogeochemical Parameters in an Earth System Model Using the Dual One Step Ahead Smoother: A Twin Experiment. Front. Mar. Sci. .

For an easy-to-understand overview of this publication, produced in collaboration with the TRIATLAS project, we recommend starting with this neat article written by Henrike Wilborn, at NERSC: “Making climate models more accurate by improving their tuning.

Summary: Ocean biogeochemical (BGC) models utilise a large number of poorly-constrained global parameters to mimic unresolved processes and reproduce the observed complex spatio-temporal patterns. Large model errors stem primarily from inaccuracies in these parameters whose optimal values can vary both in space and time. This study aims to demonstrate the ability of ensemble data assimilation (DA) methods to provide high-quality and improved BGC parameters within an Earth system model in an idealized perfect twin experiment framework. We use the Norwegian Climate Prediction Model (NorCPM), which combines the Norwegian Earth System Model with the Dual-One-Step ahead smoothing-based Ensemble Kalman Filter (DOSA-EnKF). We aim to estimate five spatially varying BGC parameters by assimilating salinity and temperature profiles and surface BGC (Phytoplankton, Nitrate, Phosphate, Silicate, and Oxygen) observations in a strongly coupled DA framework—i.e., jointly updating ocean and BGC state-parameters during the assimilation. We show how BGC observations can effectively constrain error in the ocean physics and vice versa. The method converges quickly (less than a year) and largely reduces the errors in the BGC parameters. Some parameter error remains, but the resulting state variable error using the estimated parameters for a free ensemble run and for a reanalysis performs nearly as well as with true parameter values. Optimal parameter values can also be recovered by assimilating climatological BGC observations or sparse observational networks. The findings of this study demonstrate the applicability of the DA approach for tuning the system in a real framework.

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