Inadequacy of internal covariance estimation for super-sample covariance
Département de Physique Théorique and Center for Astroparticle Physics, Université de Genève, 24 quai Ernest Ansermet, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland
Received: 14 March 2017
Accepted: 10 May 2017
We give an analytical interpretation of how subsample-based internal covariance estimators lead to biased estimates of the covariance, due to underestimating the super-sample covariance (SSC). This includes the jackknife and bootstrap methods as estimators for the full survey area, and subsampling as an estimator of the covariance of subsamples. The limitations of the jackknife covariance have been previously presented in the literature because it is effectively a rescaling of the covariance of the subsample area. However we point out that subsampling is also biased, but for a different reason: the subsamples are not independent, and the corresponding lack of power results in SSC underprediction. We develop the formalism in the case of cluster counts that allows the bias of each covariance estimator to be exactly predicted. We find significant effects for a small-scale area or when a low number of subsamples is used, with auto-redshift biases ranging from 0.4% to 15% for subsampling and from 5% to 75% for jackknife covariance estimates. The cross-redshift covariance is even more affected; biases range from 8% to 25% for subsampling and from 50% to 90% for jackknife. Owing to the redshift evolution of the probe, the covariances cannot be debiased by a simple rescaling factor, and an exact debiasing has the same requirements as the full SSC prediction. These results thus disfavour the use of internal covariance estimators on data itself or a single simulation, leaving analytical prediction and simulations suites as possible SSC predictors.
Key words: large-scale structure of Universe / methods: analytical
© ESO, 2017