Section: Research Program

Data assimilation and inverse modeling

This activity is one major concern of environmental sciences. It matches up the setting and the use of data assimilation methods, for instance variational methods (such as the 4D-Var method). An emerging issue lies in the propagation of uncertainties by models, notably through ensemble forecasting methods.

Although modeling is not part of the scientific objectives of Clime, the project-team has complete access to models through collaborations with CEREA (Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherche en Environnement Atmosphérique, École des Ponts ParisTech): the models from Polyphemus (pollution forecasting from local to regional scales) and Code_Saturne (urban scale). In regard to other modeling domains, such as meteorology and oceanography, Clime accesses models through co-operation with LOCEAN (Laboratoire d'OCEANographie et du climat, UPMC).

The research activities of Clime tackle scientific issues such as:

  • Within a family of models (differing by their physical formulations and numerical approximations), which is the optimal model for a given set of observations?

  • How to reduce dimensionality of problems by Galerkin projection of equations on subspaces? How to define these subspaces in order to keep the main properties of systems?

  • How to assess the quality of a forecast and its uncertainty? How do data quality, missing data, data obtained from sub-optimal locations, affect the forecast? How to better include information on uncertainties (of data, of models) within the data assimilation system?

  • How to make a forecast (and a better forecast!) by using several models corresponding to different physical formulations? It also raises the question: how should data be assimilated in this context?

  • Which observational network should be set up to perform a better forecast, while taking into account additional criteria such as observation cost? What are the optimal location, type and mode of deployment of sensors? How should trajectories of mobile sensors be operated, while the studied phenomenon is evolving in time? This issue is usually referred as “network design”.