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Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
20 Feb 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics (NPG).
Ensemble Kalman filter for the reconstruction of the Earth's mantle circulation
Marie Bocher1, Alexandre Fournier2, and Nicolas Coltice1 1Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France
2Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Université Paris Diderot,CNRS (UMR 7154), Paris, France
Abstract. Recent advances in mantle convection modelling led to the release of a new generation of convection codes, able to generate self-consistently plate-like tectonics at their surface. Those models physically link mantle dynamics to surface tectonics. Combined with plate tectonic reconstructions, they have the potential to produce a new generation of mantle circulation models that use data assimilation methods and where uncertainties on plate tectonic reconstructions are taken into account. We recently provided a proof of this concept by applying a suboptimal Kalman Filter to the reconstruction of mantle circulation (Bocher et al., 2016). Here, we propose to go one step further and apply the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) to this problem. The EnKF is a sequential Monte Carlo method particularly adapted to solve high dimensional data assimilation problems with nonlinear dynamics. We tested the EnKF using synthetic observations consisting of surface velocity and heat flow measurements, on a 2D-spherical annulus model and compared it with the method developed previously. The EnKF performs on average better and is more stable than the former method. Less than 300 ensemble members are sufficient to reconstruct an evolution. We use covariance adaptive inflation and localization to correct for sampling errors. We show that the EnKF results are robust over a wide range of covariance localization parameters. The reconstruction is associated with an estimation of the error, and provides valuable information on where the reconstruction is to be trusted or not.

Citation: Bocher, M., Fournier, A., and Coltice, N.: Ensemble Kalman filter for the reconstruction of the Earth's mantle circulation, Nonlin. Processes Geophys. Discuss., doi:10.5194/npg-2017-7, in review, 2017.
Marie Bocher et al.
Marie Bocher et al.
Marie Bocher et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We propose a new method to reconstruct the circulation in the Earth's Mantle for the last 300 Myrs. This method is based on the sequential assimilation of plate layouts obtained from plate tectonic reconstructions into mantle convection models. This method allows us to take into account uncertainties on plate tectonic reconstructions, and provides an estimation of the uncertainties on the final result. We test and validate this method in a controlled environment by using synthetic experiments.
We propose a new method to reconstruct the circulation in the Earth's Mantle for the last...