Hybrid vs Adaptive Ensemble Kalman Filtering for Storm Surge Forecasting

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Muhammad Umer Altaf1, Neila Raboudi1, Mohamad El Gharamti1, Clint Dawson2, Matthew F McCabe1 and Ibrahim Hoteit1, (1)King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, (2)University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, United States
Recent storm surge events due to Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico have motivated the efforts to accurately forecast water levels. Toward this goal, a parallel architecture has been implemented based on a high resolution storm surge model, ADCIRC. However the accuracy of the model notably depends on the quality and the recentness of the input data (mainly winds and bathymetry), model parameters (e.g. wind and bottom drag coefficients), and the resolution of the model grid. Given all these uncertainties in the system, the challenge is to build an efficient prediction system capable of providing accurate forecasts enough ahead of time for the authorities to evacuate the areas at risk.

We have developed an ensemble-based data assimilation system to frequently assimilate available data into the ADCIRC model in order to improve the accuracy of the model. In this contribution we study and analyze the performances of different ensemble Kalman filter methodologies for efficient short-range storm surge forecasting, the aim being to produce the most accurate forecasts at the lowest possible computing time. Using Hurricane Ike meteorological data to force the ADCIRC model over a domain including the Gulf of Mexico coastline, we implement and compare the forecasts of the standard EnKF, the hybrid EnKF and an adaptive EnKF. The last two schemes have been introduced as efficient tools for enhancing the behavior of the EnKF when implemented with small ensembles by exploiting information from a static background covariance matrix. Covariance inflation and localization are implemented in all these filters. Our results suggest that both the hybrid and the adaptive approach provide significantly better forecasts than those resulting from the standard EnKF, even when implemented with much smaller ensembles.