On the impact of salinity observations on state estimates in Ems Estuary


The hydrodynamics of Ems Estuary are dominated by tides and their interaction with buoyancy forcing. Such an environment is challenging for any effort to bring together observations and model results. In this study, we investigate how salinity measurements in the Ems Estuary affect the reconstruction of the salinity field. Similar to the traditional observing system experiments, the impact of specific observational arrays is simulated in the framework of statistical experiments. The experimental algorithm mainly relies on the model covariance matrix. Each experiment results in an estimate of the reconstruction error. The analysed observation configurations involve single and multiple, as well as stationary and non-stationary observing arrays. Generally, the reconstruction of the ocean state improves with increasing the density of observations. It appears that certain locations are more favourable for reconstruction than others. In fact, the regions separating the main dynamical realms resist strongest to the reconstruction effort. Extending the covariance matrix by the temporal cross-covariances between the model grid points enables to evaluate the impact of observations taken from a moving platform. This approach further improves the outcome of the experiments, resulting in reconstruction errors near zero with the exception of the tidal river. The cross-covariance information is able to tackle even the irregular dynamics arising on the border between the different physical regimes.
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