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Statistical Downscaling Forecasts for Winter Monsoon Precipitation in Malaysia Using Multimodel Output Variables

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  • 1 Research Centre for Tropical Climate Change System (IKLIM), Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia
  • | 2 APEC Climate Center, Busan, South Korea, and State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing, China
  • | 3 APEC Climate Center, Busan, South Korea
  • | 4 Malaysian Meteorological Department, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
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Abstract

This paper compares the skills of four different forecasting approaches in predicting the 1-month lead time of the Malaysian winter season precipitation. Two of the approaches are based on statistical downscaling techniques of multimodel ensembles (MME). The third one is the ensemble of raw GCM forecast without any downscaling, whereas the fourth approach, which provides a baseline comparison, is a purely statistical forecast based solely on the preceding sea surface temperature anomaly. The first multimodel statistical downscaling method was developed by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Climate Center (APCC) team, whereas the second is based on the canonical correlation analysis (CCA) technique using the same predictor variables. For the multimodel downscaling ensemble, eight variables from seven operational GCMs are used as predictors with the hindcast forecast data spanning a period of 21 yr from 1983/84 to 2003/04. The raw GCM forecast ensemble tends to have higher skills than the baseline skills of the purely statistical forecast that relates the dominant modes of observed sea surface temperature variability to precipitation. However, the downscaled MME forecasts have higher skills than the raw GCM products. In particular, the model developed by APCC showed significant improvement over the peninsular Malaysia region. This is attributed to the model’s ability to capture regional and large-scale predictor signatures from which the additional skills originated. Overall, the results showed that the appropriate downscaling technique and ensemble of various GCM forecasts could result in some skill enhancement, particularly over peninsular Malaysia, where other models tend to have lower or no skills.

Corresponding author address: Liew Juneng, Research Centre for Tropical Climate Change System (IKLIM), Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 UKM Bangi, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia. Email: juneng@ukm.my

Abstract

This paper compares the skills of four different forecasting approaches in predicting the 1-month lead time of the Malaysian winter season precipitation. Two of the approaches are based on statistical downscaling techniques of multimodel ensembles (MME). The third one is the ensemble of raw GCM forecast without any downscaling, whereas the fourth approach, which provides a baseline comparison, is a purely statistical forecast based solely on the preceding sea surface temperature anomaly. The first multimodel statistical downscaling method was developed by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Climate Center (APCC) team, whereas the second is based on the canonical correlation analysis (CCA) technique using the same predictor variables. For the multimodel downscaling ensemble, eight variables from seven operational GCMs are used as predictors with the hindcast forecast data spanning a period of 21 yr from 1983/84 to 2003/04. The raw GCM forecast ensemble tends to have higher skills than the baseline skills of the purely statistical forecast that relates the dominant modes of observed sea surface temperature variability to precipitation. However, the downscaled MME forecasts have higher skills than the raw GCM products. In particular, the model developed by APCC showed significant improvement over the peninsular Malaysia region. This is attributed to the model’s ability to capture regional and large-scale predictor signatures from which the additional skills originated. Overall, the results showed that the appropriate downscaling technique and ensemble of various GCM forecasts could result in some skill enhancement, particularly over peninsular Malaysia, where other models tend to have lower or no skills.

Corresponding author address: Liew Juneng, Research Centre for Tropical Climate Change System (IKLIM), Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 UKM Bangi, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia. Email: juneng@ukm.my

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