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An Objective Methodology for Configuring and Down-Selecting an NWP Ensemble for Low-Level Wind Prediction

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  • 1 Research Applications Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research,* Boulder, Colorado, and Applied Research Laboratory, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, and Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
  • | 2 Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
  • | 3 Applied Research Laboratory, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, and Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
  • | 4 Research Applications Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research,* Boulder, Colorado, and Applied Research Laboratory, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, and Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
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Abstract

Ensembles of numerical weather prediction (NWP) model predictions are used for a variety of forecasting applications. Such ensembles quantify the uncertainty of the prediction because the spread in the ensemble predictions is correlated to forecast uncertainty. For atmospheric transport and dispersion and wind energy applications in particular, the NWP ensemble spread should accurately represent uncertainty in the low-level mean wind. To adequately sample the probability density function (PDF) of the forecast atmospheric state, it is necessary to account for several sources of uncertainty. Limited computational resources constrain the size of ensembles, so choices must be made about which members to include. No known objective methodology exists to guide users in choosing which combinations of physics parameterizations to include in an NWP ensemble, however. This study presents such a methodology.

The authors build an NWP ensemble using the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting Model (ARW-WRF). This 24-member ensemble varies physics parameterizations for 18 randomly selected 48-h forecast periods in boreal summer 2009. Verification focuses on 2-m temperature and 10-m wind components at forecast lead times from 12 to 48 h. Various statistical guidance methods are employed for down-selection, calibration, and verification of the ensemble forecasts. The ensemble down-selection is accomplished with principal component analysis. The ensemble PDF is then statistically dressed, or calibrated, using Bayesian model averaging. The postprocessing techniques presented here result in a recommended down-selected ensemble that is about half the size of the original ensemble yet produces similar forecast performance, and still includes critical diversity in several types of physics schemes.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Current affiliation: Department of Meteorology, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California.

Corresponding author address: Sue Ellen Haupt, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Research Applications Laboratory, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000. E-mail: haupt@ucar.edu

Abstract

Ensembles of numerical weather prediction (NWP) model predictions are used for a variety of forecasting applications. Such ensembles quantify the uncertainty of the prediction because the spread in the ensemble predictions is correlated to forecast uncertainty. For atmospheric transport and dispersion and wind energy applications in particular, the NWP ensemble spread should accurately represent uncertainty in the low-level mean wind. To adequately sample the probability density function (PDF) of the forecast atmospheric state, it is necessary to account for several sources of uncertainty. Limited computational resources constrain the size of ensembles, so choices must be made about which members to include. No known objective methodology exists to guide users in choosing which combinations of physics parameterizations to include in an NWP ensemble, however. This study presents such a methodology.

The authors build an NWP ensemble using the Advanced Research Weather Research and Forecasting Model (ARW-WRF). This 24-member ensemble varies physics parameterizations for 18 randomly selected 48-h forecast periods in boreal summer 2009. Verification focuses on 2-m temperature and 10-m wind components at forecast lead times from 12 to 48 h. Various statistical guidance methods are employed for down-selection, calibration, and verification of the ensemble forecasts. The ensemble down-selection is accomplished with principal component analysis. The ensemble PDF is then statistically dressed, or calibrated, using Bayesian model averaging. The postprocessing techniques presented here result in a recommended down-selected ensemble that is about half the size of the original ensemble yet produces similar forecast performance, and still includes critical diversity in several types of physics schemes.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Current affiliation: Department of Meteorology, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California.

Corresponding author address: Sue Ellen Haupt, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Research Applications Laboratory, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000. E-mail: haupt@ucar.edu
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