The diffuse ensemble filter
- Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, 4041 Powder Mill Rd., Suite 302, Calverton, MD, 20705, USA
- George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
Abstract. A new class of ensemble filters, called the Diffuse Ensemble Filter (DEnF), is proposed in this paper. The DEnF assumes that the forecast errors orthogonal to the first guess ensemble are uncorrelated with the latter ensemble and have infinite variance. The assumption of infinite variance corresponds to the limit of "complete lack of knowledge" and differs dramatically from the implicit assumption made in most other ensemble filters, which is that the forecast errors orthogonal to the first guess ensemble have vanishing errors. The DEnF is independent of the detailed covariances assumed in the space orthogonal to the ensemble space, and reduces to conventional ensemble square root filters when the number of ensembles exceeds the model dimension. The DEnF is well defined only in data rich regimes and involves the inversion of relatively large matrices, although this barrier might be circumvented by variational methods. Two algorithms for solving the DEnF, namely the Diffuse Ensemble Kalman Filter (DEnKF) and the Diffuse Ensemble Transform Kalman Filter (DETKF), are proposed and found to give comparable results. These filters generally converge to the traditional EnKF and ETKF, respectively, when the ensemble size exceeds the model dimension. Numerical experiments demonstrate that the DEnF eliminates filter collapse, which occurs in ensemble Kalman filters for small ensemble sizes. Also, the use of the DEnF to initialize a conventional square root filter dramatically accelerates the spin-up time for convergence. However, in a perfect model scenario, the DEnF produces larger errors than ensemble square root filters that have covariance localization and inflation. For imperfect forecast models, the DEnF produces smaller errors than the ensemble square root filter with inflation. These experiments suggest that the DEnF has some advantages relative to the ensemble square root filters in the regime of small ensemble size, imperfect model, and copious observations.