Coupled physical and biological data assimilation is performed within the California Current System using model twin experiments. The initial condition of physical and biological variables is estimated using the four-dimensional variational (4DVar) method under the Gaussian and lognormal error distributions assumption, respectively. Errors are assumed to be independent, yet variables are coupled by assimilation through model dynamics. Using a nutrient-phytoplankton-zooplankton-detritus (NPZD) model coupled to an ocean circulation model (the Regional Ocean Modeling System, ROMS), the coupled data assimilation procedure is evaluated by comparing results to experiments with no assimilation and with assimilation of physical data and biological data separately. Independent assimilation of physical (biological) data reduces the root-mean-squared error (RMSE) of physical (biological) state variables by more than 56% (43%). However, the improvement in biological (physical) state variables is less than 7% (13%). In contrast, coupled data assimilation improves both physical and biological components by 57% and 49%, respectively. Coupled data assimilation shows robust performance with varied observational errors, resulting in significantly smaller RMSEs compared to the free run. It still produces the estimation of observed variables better than that from the free run even with the physical and biological model error, but leads to higher RMSEs for unobserved variables. A series of twin experiments illustrates that coupled physical and biological 4DVar assimilation is computationally efficient and practical, capable of providing the reliable estimation of the coupled system with the same and ready to be examined in a realistic configuration.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We are grateful for grants from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (award number NA10OAR4320156 ) that supported this research. The authors would like to thank four anonymous reviewers for valuable comments and suggestions, which significantly improved the manuscript.
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Computer Science (miscellaneous)
- Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
- Atmospheric Science