Forecast Sensitivity-based Observation Impact (FSOI) in an analysis–forecast system of the California Current Circulation

Patrick Drake, Christopher A. Edwards, Hernan G. Arango, John Wilkin, Tayebeh TajalliBakhsh, Brian Powell, Andrew M. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Forecast Sensitivity-based Observation Impacts (FSOI) in an analysis–forecast​ system of the California Current System (CCS) are quantified using an adjoint-based approach. The analysis–forecast system is based on the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) and a 4-dimensional variational (4D-Var) data assimilation approach. FSOI was applied to four different metrics of forecast skill that target important features of the CCS circulation along the central California coast. A particular focus of the FSOI analysis is the impact of assimilation of measurements of the radial component of surface currents from a network of high frequency (HF) radars since this is a new data stream in the near-real-time system considered here. On average, ∼50–60% of all observations assimilated into the model yielded improvements in the forecast skill. Conversely, the remaining ∼40–50% of data degrade the forecasts, in line with similar findings in numerical weather prediction systems. Much of the improvement in forecast skill arises from remotely sensed observations, including HF radar data; on average only ∼50% of in situ measurements contribute to a reduction in forecast error. This is partly due to the large volume of remote sensing observations compared to in situ observations. However, in situ observations are an order of magnitude more impactful than remotely sensed data when viewed in terms of the average impact per observation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102159
JournalOcean Modelling
StatePublished - Apr 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Oceanography
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Atmospheric Science


  • 4D-var
  • California Current
  • Coastal HF radars
  • Forecast sensitivity-based observation impacts (FSOI)
  • U.S. IOOS


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