Related Research Areas
Atmospheric Composition, Climate Variability & Change, Weather

Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSEs) employ a data assimilation system (DAS) to produce estimates of simulated atmospheric states by ingesting simulated imperfect observations drawn from those states. Impacts of as yet non-existent observations can thereby be estimated in a realistic context by examining the ability of a DAS to re-create those states from such observations. Properly conducted and validated OSSEs provide information that for many applications is impossible to obtain otherwise. This proposal is to develop, validate and apply a capability at NASA’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) for conducting OSSEs. This will contribute to NASA’s goal to better observe and analyze the earth’s atmosphere for better characterizing climate and predicting weather. Most of the components and expertise required for OSSEs already exist at the GMAO, with the primary exception being a complete set of appropriately simulated observations drawn from the atmospheric simulations available there. Half of the performance period will be devoted to their generation. The remainder of the time will be devoted to applying OSSEs for the general purposes mentioned. This work has several likely impacts. First, it will allow more scientifically supportable assertions of the expected impacts of various proposed observation instruments on climate and weather analysis, assisting managers in their selection process. Second, it will help instrument developers to weigh the utilities of competing designs. Third, it will facilitate improvement of the GMAO DAS and the design of future replacements. Fourth, it will provide otherwise-elusive information regarding some DAS products, such as statistical estimates of analysis uncertainty. Consequently, atmospheric states will be determined more accurately and their estimates will be better utilized (e.g., because their uncertainty is quantified). The simulated observations produced at the GMAO will also be made available to the international community of OSSE researchers, further expanding the impact of this work.

Project PI: Ronald Errico/Global Modeling and Assililation Office

GMAO Building 33, Room NASA GSFC, Code 610.1 Greenbelt, MD 20771 USA

Phone: (301) 614-6402



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Started: Aug 10, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 15, 2010


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