This study presents findings from a real-time forecast experiment that compares legacy deterministic hydrologic stage forecasts to ensemble mean and median stage forecasts from the NOAA/NWS Meteorological Model-Based Ensemble Forecast System (MMEFS). The NOAA/NWS Ohio River Forecast Center (OHRFC) area of responsibility defines the experimental region. Real-time forecasts from subbasins at 54 forecast point locations, ranging in drainage area, geographic location within the Ohio River valley, and watershed response time serve as the basis for analyses. In the experiment, operational hydrologic forecasts, with a 24-h quantitative precipitation forecast (QPF) and forecast temperatures, are compared to MMEFS hydrologic ensemble mean and median forecasts, with model forcings from the NOAA/NWS National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) North American Ensemble Forecast System (NAEFS), over the period from 30 November 2010 through 24 May 2012. Experiments indicate that MMEFS ensemble mean and median forecasts exhibit lower errors beginning at about lead time 90 h when forecasts at all locations are aggregated. With fast response basins that peak at ≤24 h, ensemble mean and median forecasts exhibit lower errors much earlier, beginning at about lead time 36 h, which suggests the viability of using MMEFS ensemble forecasts as an alternative to OHRFC legacy forecasts. Analyses show that ensemble median forecasts generally exhibit smaller errors than ensemble mean forecasts for all stage ranges. Verification results suggest that OHRFC MMEFS NAEFS ensemble forecasts are reasonable, but needed improvements are identified.
© 2018 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).