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The NMC global data assimilation system
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    The NMC global data assimilation system consists of two main elements. First, the numerical representation of the atmosphere is carried by a global prediction model. Periodically, the model is corrected, or updated, by available observations through the second element, the optimum interpolation procedure described in the previous lecture. It is assumed that the prediction model is reasonably accurate at all times. Under this assumption, it follows that 1) at gridpoints for which observations are nearby, the corrections determined by the optimum interpolation procedure are small and reflect a blend of predicted and observed information according to estimates of their respective reliabilities; and 2) at gridpoints for which no observations are available, no arbitrary or incidental corrections should be made. These statements reflect the dominant role of the prediction model, a view that emerged from data assimilation research and strongly influenced the design of the NMC assimilation system.

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