• data assimilation;
  • correlated observation error;
  • forward model error


The observation-error covariance matrix used in data assimilation contains contributions from instrument errors, representativity errors and errors introduced by the approximated observation operator. Forward model errors arise when the observation operator does not correctly model the observations or when observations can resolve spatial scales that the model cannot. Previous work to estimate the observation-error covariance matrix for particular observing instruments has shown that it contains signifcant correlations. In particular, correlations for humidity data are more significant than those for temperature. However it is not known what proportion of these correlations can be attributed to the representativity errors. In this article we apply an existing method for calculating representativity error, previously applied to an idealised system, to NWP data. We calculate horizontal errors of representativity for temperature and humidity using data from the Met Office high-resolution UK variable resolution model. Our results show that errors of representativity are correlated and more significant for specific humidity than temperature. We also find that representativity error varies with height. This suggests that the assimilation scheme may be improved if these errors are explicitly included in a data assimilation scheme.