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Improving Intraseasonal Prediction with a New Ensemble Generation Strategy

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  • 1 Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research,* Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Abstract

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has recently enhanced its capability to make coupled model forecasts of intraseasonal climate variations. The Predictive Ocean Atmosphere Model for Australia (POAMA, version 2) seasonal prediction forecast system in operations prior to March 2013, designated P2-S, was not designed for intraseasonal forecasting and has deficiencies in this regard. Most notably, the forecasts were only initialized on the 1st and 15th of each month, and the growth of the ensemble spread in the first 30 days of the forecasts was too slow to be useful on intraseasonal time scales. These deficiencies have been addressed in a system upgrade by initializing more often and through enhancements to the ensemble generation. The new ensemble generation scheme is based on a coupled-breeding approach and produces an ensemble of perturbed atmosphere and ocean states for initializing the forecasts. This scheme impacts favorably on the forecast skill of Australian rainfall and temperature compared to P2-S and its predecessor (version 1.5). In POAMA-1.5 the ensemble was produced using time-lagged atmospheric initial conditions but with unperturbed ocean initial conditions. P2-S used an ensemble of perturbed ocean initial conditions but only a single atmospheric initial condition. The improvement in forecast performance using the coupled-breeding approach is primarily reflected in improved reliability in the first month of the forecasts, but there is also higher skill in predicting important drivers of intraseasonal climate variability, namely the Madden–Julian oscillation and southern annular mode. The results illustrate the importance of having an optimal ensemble generation strategy.

The Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research is a partnership between the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Debra Hudson, Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, Bureau of Meteorology, GPO Box 1289, Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia. E-mail: d.hudson@bom.gov.au

Abstract

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has recently enhanced its capability to make coupled model forecasts of intraseasonal climate variations. The Predictive Ocean Atmosphere Model for Australia (POAMA, version 2) seasonal prediction forecast system in operations prior to March 2013, designated P2-S, was not designed for intraseasonal forecasting and has deficiencies in this regard. Most notably, the forecasts were only initialized on the 1st and 15th of each month, and the growth of the ensemble spread in the first 30 days of the forecasts was too slow to be useful on intraseasonal time scales. These deficiencies have been addressed in a system upgrade by initializing more often and through enhancements to the ensemble generation. The new ensemble generation scheme is based on a coupled-breeding approach and produces an ensemble of perturbed atmosphere and ocean states for initializing the forecasts. This scheme impacts favorably on the forecast skill of Australian rainfall and temperature compared to P2-S and its predecessor (version 1.5). In POAMA-1.5 the ensemble was produced using time-lagged atmospheric initial conditions but with unperturbed ocean initial conditions. P2-S used an ensemble of perturbed ocean initial conditions but only a single atmospheric initial condition. The improvement in forecast performance using the coupled-breeding approach is primarily reflected in improved reliability in the first month of the forecasts, but there is also higher skill in predicting important drivers of intraseasonal climate variability, namely the Madden–Julian oscillation and southern annular mode. The results illustrate the importance of having an optimal ensemble generation strategy.

The Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research is a partnership between the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Debra Hudson, Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, Bureau of Meteorology, GPO Box 1289, Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia. E-mail: d.hudson@bom.gov.au
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