A local ensemble transform Kalman filter data assimilation system for the NCEP global model

Istvan Szunyogh, Eric Kostelich, Gyorgyi Gyarmati, Eugenia Kalnay, Brian R. Hunt, Edward Ott, Elizabeth Satterfield, James A. Yorke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations


The accuracy and computational efficiency of a parallel computer implementation of the Local Ensemble Transform Kalman Filter (LETKF) data assimilation scheme on the model component of the 2004 version of the Global Forecast System (GFS) of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) is investigated. Numerical experiments are carried out at model resolution T62L28. All atmospheric observations that were operationally assimilated by NCEP in 2004, except for satellite radiances, are assimilated with the LETKF. The accuracy of the LETKF analyses is evaluated by comparing it to that of the Spectral Statistical Interpolation (SSI), which was the operational global data assimilation scheme of NCEP in 2004. For the selected set of observations, the LETKF analyses are more accurate than the SSI analyses in the Southern Hemisphere extratropics and are comparably accurate in the Northern Hemisphere extratropics and in the Tropics. The computational wall-clock times achieved on a Beowulf cluster of 3.6 GHz Xeon processors make our implementation of the LETKF on the NCEP GFS a widely applicable analysis-forecast system, especially for research purposes. For instance, the generation of four daily analyses at the resolution of the NCAR-NCEP reanalysis (T62L28) for a full season (90 d), using 40 processors, takes less than 4 d of wall-clock time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-130
Number of pages18
JournalTellus, Series A: Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography
Volume60 A
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Atmospheric Science


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