Assimilation scheme of the Mediterranean Forecasting System: operational implementation
Abstract. This paper describes the operational implementation of the data assimilation scheme for the Mediterranean Forecasting System Pilot Project (MFSPP). The assimilation scheme, System for Ocean Forecast and Analysis (SOFA), is a reduced order Optimal Interpolation (OI) scheme. The order reduction is achieved by projection of the state vector into vertical Empirical Orthogonal Functions (EOF). The data assimilated are Sea Level Anomaly (SLA) and temperature profiles from Expandable Bathy Termographs (XBT). The data collection, quality control, assimilation and forecast procedures are all done in Near Real Time (NRT). The OI is used intermittently with an assimilation cycle of one week so that an analysis is produced once a week. The forecast is then done for ten days following the analysis day. The root mean square (RMS) between the model forecast and the analysis (the forecast RMS) is below 0.7°C in the surface layers and below 0.2°C in the layers deeper than 200 m for all the ten forecast days. The RMS between forecast and initial condition (persistence RMS) is higher than forecast RMS after the first day. This means that the model improves forecast with respect to persistence. The calculation of the misfit between the forecast and the satellite data suggests that the model solution represents well the main space and time variability of the SLA except for a relatively short period of three – four weeks during the summer when the data show a fast transition between the cyclonic winter and anti-cyclonic summer regimes. This occurs in the surface layers that are not corrected by our assimilation scheme hypothesis. On the basis of the forecast skill scores analysis, conclusions are drawn about future improvements.
Key words. Oceanography; general (marginal and semi-enclosed seas; numerical modeling; ocean prediction)