Assimilation of wide-swath altimetry water elevation anomalies to correct large-scale river routing model parameters

Emery, Charlotte Marie ; Biancamaria, Sylvain ; Boone, Aaron ; Ricci, Sophie ; Rochoux, Mélanie C. ; Pedinotti, Vanessa ; David, Cédric H.

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<p align=justify>Land surface models combined with river routing models are widely used to study the continental part of the water cycle. They give global estimates of water flows and storages, but they are not without non-negligible uncertainties, among which inexact input parameters play a significant part. The incoming Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite mission, with a launch scheduled for 2021 and with a required lifetime of at least 3 years, will be dedicated to the measuring of water surface elevations, widths and surface slopes of rivers wider than 100 <span class="inline-formula">m</span>, at a global scale. SWOT will provide a significant number of new observations for river hydrology and maybe combined, through data assimilation, with global-scale models in order to correct their input parameters and reduce their associated uncertainty. Comparing simulated water depths with measured water surface elevations remains however a challenge and can introduce within the system large bias. A promising alternative for assimilating water surface elevations consists of assimilating water surface elevation anomalies which do not depend on a reference surface. The objective of this study is to present a data assimilation platform based on the asynchronous ensemble Kalman filter (AEnKF) that can assimilate synthetic SWOT observations of water depths and water elevation anomalies to correct the input parameters of a large-scale hydrologic model over a 21 d time window. The study is applied to the ISBA-CTRIP model over the Amazon basin and focuses on correcting the spatial distribution of the river Manning coefficients. The data assimilation algorithm, tested through a set of observing system simulation experiments (OSSEs), is able to retrieve the true value of the Manning coefficients within one assimilation cycle much of the time (basin-averaged Manning coefficient root mean square error, RMSEn, is reduced from 33 % to [1 %-10 %] after one assimilation cycle) and shows promising perspectives with assimilating water anomalies (basin-averaged Manning coefficient RMSEn is reduced from 33 % to [1 %-2 %] when assimilating water surface elevation anomalies over 1 year), which allows us to overcome the issue of unknown bathymetry.</p>
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