Illustrating Continuous Data Assimilation For Scientists

For ECMWF we produced an explainer animation video to highlight the upgraded forecast system (46r1), which improves on current modelling. The video was created to be used by ECMWF in presentations and for its community to convey exciting and inspiring science.

Design & Data were commissioned to produce a short explainer animation to illustrate how continuous data assimilation (4d-var) can achieve better forecasts through a better use of observations. The challenge was to convey how scientists can now start on calculations even as observations are still arriving, refining the initial conditions, leading to a more accurate forecast.

We sought to simplify an otherwise complex topic by starting with block graphics to illustrate how with this new forecast system we are reducing observation time from 2 hours to just 30 minutes. We built up a picture to demonstrate how the initial conditions for the forecast are like the puzzle. We previously had to wait for the clues but now we can start the puzzle before getting all the clues. As the clues come in, we get a better and better idea of how to solve the puzzle. We chose a similar lively but informative tone to our previous explainer animations for ECMWF on ozone and CO2.

The feedback from the scientific community about this animation has been positive, who state it has been useful for their communications. It was also used in a presentation in Finland during a meeting of the ECMWF Council.

  • Animations