This paper investigates the potential of line-of-sight (LOS) wind information from a spaceborne Doppler wind lidar to reduce uncertainties in the analysis fields of equatorial waves. The benefit of LOS winds is assessed by comparing their impact to that of a single wind component, full wind field information, and mass field data in three- and four-dimensional variational data assimilation.
The dynamical framework consists of nonlinear shallow-water equations solved in spectral space and a background error term based on eigenmodes derived from linear equatorial wave theory. Based on observational evidence, simulated wave motion fields contain equatorial Kelvin, Rossby, mixed Rossby–gravity, and the lowest two modes of the westward-propagating inertio–gravity waves. The same dynamical structures are included, entirely or partially, into the background error covariance matrix for the multivariate analysis. The relative usefulness of LOS data is evaluated by carrying out “identical twin” observing system simulation experiments and assuming a perfect model.
Results from the experiments involving a single observation or an imperfect background error covariance matrix illustrate that the assimilation increments due to LOS wind information rely more on the background error term specification than the full wind field information. This sensitivity is furthermore transferred to the balanced height field increments.
However, all assimilation experiments suggest that LOS wind observations have a capability of being valuable and need supplemental information to the existing satellite mass field measurements in the Tropics. Although the new wind information is incomplete, it has a potential to provide reliable analysis of tropical wave motions when it is used together with the height data.
2004. Vol. 61, no 15, 1877-1893 p.