Postprocessing of Ensemble Weather Forecasts Using a Stochastic Weather Generator

Jie Chen Department of Construction Engineering, École de technologie supérieure, Université du Québec, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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François P. Brissette Department of Construction Engineering, École de technologie supérieure, Université du Québec, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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Zhi Li College of Natural Resources and Environment, Northwest A & F University, Yangling, Shaanxi, China

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Abstract

This study proposes a new statistical method for postprocessing ensemble weather forecasts using a stochastic weather generator. Key parameters of the weather generator were linked to the ensemble forecast means for both precipitation and temperature, allowing the generation of an infinite number of daily times series that are fully coherent with the ensemble weather forecast. This method was verified through postprocessing reforecast datasets derived from the Global Forecast System (GFS) for forecast leads ranging between 1 and 7 days over two Canadian watersheds in the Province of Quebec. The calibration of the ensemble weather forecasts was based on a cross-validation approach that leaves one year out for validation and uses the remaining years for training the model. The proposed method was compared with a simple bias correction method for ensemble precipitation and temperature forecasts using a set of deterministic and probabilistic metrics. The results show underdispersion and biases for the raw GFS ensemble weather forecasts, which indicated that they were poorly calibrated. The proposed method significantly increased the predictive power of ensemble weather forecasts for forecast leads ranging between 1 and 7 days, and was consistently better than the bias correction method. The ability to generate discrete, autocorrelated daily time series leads to ensemble weather forecasts’ straightforward use in forecasting models commonly used in the fields of hydrology or agriculture. This study further indicates that the calibration of ensemble forecasts for a period up to one week is reasonable for precipitation, and for temperature it could be reasonable for another week.

Corresponding author address: Jie Chen, Department of Construction Engineering, École de technologie supérieure, Université du Québec, 1100 rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Montreal QC H3C 1K3, Canada. E-mail: jie.chen.1@ens.etsmtl.ca

Abstract

This study proposes a new statistical method for postprocessing ensemble weather forecasts using a stochastic weather generator. Key parameters of the weather generator were linked to the ensemble forecast means for both precipitation and temperature, allowing the generation of an infinite number of daily times series that are fully coherent with the ensemble weather forecast. This method was verified through postprocessing reforecast datasets derived from the Global Forecast System (GFS) for forecast leads ranging between 1 and 7 days over two Canadian watersheds in the Province of Quebec. The calibration of the ensemble weather forecasts was based on a cross-validation approach that leaves one year out for validation and uses the remaining years for training the model. The proposed method was compared with a simple bias correction method for ensemble precipitation and temperature forecasts using a set of deterministic and probabilistic metrics. The results show underdispersion and biases for the raw GFS ensemble weather forecasts, which indicated that they were poorly calibrated. The proposed method significantly increased the predictive power of ensemble weather forecasts for forecast leads ranging between 1 and 7 days, and was consistently better than the bias correction method. The ability to generate discrete, autocorrelated daily time series leads to ensemble weather forecasts’ straightforward use in forecasting models commonly used in the fields of hydrology or agriculture. This study further indicates that the calibration of ensemble forecasts for a period up to one week is reasonable for precipitation, and for temperature it could be reasonable for another week.

Corresponding author address: Jie Chen, Department of Construction Engineering, École de technologie supérieure, Université du Québec, 1100 rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Montreal QC H3C 1K3, Canada. E-mail: jie.chen.1@ens.etsmtl.ca
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