Combining Hybrid and One-Step-Ahead Smoothing for Efficient Short-Range Storm Surge Forecasting with an Ensemble Kalman Filter

by N. M. F. Raboudi, B. Ait-El-Fquih, C. Dawson, I. Hoteit
Article Year: 2019 DOI: 10.1175/mwr-d-18-0410.1


This work combines two auxiliary techniques, namely the one-step-ahead (OSA) smoothing and the hybrid formulation, to boost the forecasting skills of a storm surge Ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) forecasting system. Bayesian filtering with OSA-smoothing enhances the robustness of the ensemble background statistics by exploiting the data twice, first to constrain the sampling of the forecast ensemble with the future observation, and then to update the resulting ensemble. This is expected to improve the behavior of EnKF-like schemes during the strongly nonlinear surges periods, but requires integrating the ensemble with the forecast model twice, which could be computationally demanding. The hybrid flow-dependent/static formulation of the EnKF background error covariance is then considered to enable the implementation of the filter with a small flow-dependent ensemble size, and thus less model runs. These two methods are combined within an ensemble transform Kalman filter (ETKF). The resulting hybrid ETKF with OSA smoothing is tested, based on twin experiments, using a realistic setting of the Advanced Circulation (ADCIRC) model configured for storm surge forecasting in the Gulf of Mexico and assimilating pseudo-observations of sea surface levels from a network of buoys. The results of our numerical experiments suggest that the proposed filtering system significantly enhances ADCIRC forecasting skills compared to the standard ETKF without increasing the computational cost.