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Probabilistic Visibility Forecasting Using Bayesian Model Averaging

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  • 1 Department of Mathematics, United States Coast Guard Academy, New London, Connecticut
  • | 2 Department of Statistics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
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Abstract

Bayesian model averaging (BMA) is a statistical postprocessing technique that has been used in probabilistic weather forecasting to calibrate forecast ensembles and generate predictive probability density functions (PDFs) for weather quantities. The authors apply BMA to probabilistic visibility forecasting using a predictive PDF that is a mixture of discrete point mass and beta distribution components. Three approaches to developing predictive PDFs for visibility are developed, each using BMA to postprocess an ensemble of visibility forecasts. In the first approach, the ensemble is generated by a translation algorithm that converts predicted concentrations of hydrometeorological variables into visibility. The second approach augments the raw ensemble visibility forecasts with model forecasts of relative humidity and quantitative precipitation. In the third approach, the ensemble members are generated from relative humidity and precipitation alone. These methods are applied to 12-h ensemble forecasts from 2007 to 2008 and are tested against verifying observations recorded at Automated Surface Observing Stations in the Pacific Northwest. Each of the three methods produces predictive PDFs that are calibrated and sharp with respect to both climatology and the raw ensemble.

Corresponding author address: Richard M. Chmielecki, Department of Mathematics, United States Coast Guard Academy, 15 Mohegan Ave., New London, CT 06320. E-mail: richard.m.chmielecki@uscga.edu

Abstract

Bayesian model averaging (BMA) is a statistical postprocessing technique that has been used in probabilistic weather forecasting to calibrate forecast ensembles and generate predictive probability density functions (PDFs) for weather quantities. The authors apply BMA to probabilistic visibility forecasting using a predictive PDF that is a mixture of discrete point mass and beta distribution components. Three approaches to developing predictive PDFs for visibility are developed, each using BMA to postprocess an ensemble of visibility forecasts. In the first approach, the ensemble is generated by a translation algorithm that converts predicted concentrations of hydrometeorological variables into visibility. The second approach augments the raw ensemble visibility forecasts with model forecasts of relative humidity and quantitative precipitation. In the third approach, the ensemble members are generated from relative humidity and precipitation alone. These methods are applied to 12-h ensemble forecasts from 2007 to 2008 and are tested against verifying observations recorded at Automated Surface Observing Stations in the Pacific Northwest. Each of the three methods produces predictive PDFs that are calibrated and sharp with respect to both climatology and the raw ensemble.

Corresponding author address: Richard M. Chmielecki, Department of Mathematics, United States Coast Guard Academy, 15 Mohegan Ave., New London, CT 06320. E-mail: richard.m.chmielecki@uscga.edu
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