Comparative Assessment of Two Objective Forecast Models for Cases of Persistent Extreme Precipitation Events in the Yangtze–Huai River Valley in Summer 2016

Baiquan Zhou State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, China Meteorological Administration, and University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

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Panmao Zhai State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing, China

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Ruoyun Niu National Meteorological Center, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing, China

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Abstract

Two persistent extreme precipitation events (PEPEs) that caused severe flooding in the Yangtze–Huai River valley in summer 2016 presented a significant challenge to operational forecasters. To provide forecasters with useful references, the capacity of two objective forecast models in predicting these two PEPEs is investigated. The objective models include a numerical weather prediction (NWP) model from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), and a statistical downscaling model, the Key Influential Systems Based Analog Model (KISAM). Results show that the ECMWF ensemble provides a skillful spectrum of solutions for determining the location of the daily heavy precipitation (≥25 mm day−1) during the PEPEs, despite its general underestimation of heavy precipitation. For lead times longer than 3 days, KISAM outperforms the ensemble mean and nearly one-half or more of all the ensemble members of ECMWF. Moreover, at longer lead times, KISAM generally performs better in reproducing the meridional location of accumulated rainfall over the two PEPEs compared to the ECMWF ensemble mean and the control run. Further verification of the vertical velocity that affects the production of heavy rainfall in ECMWF and KISAM implies the quality of the depiction of ascending motion during the PEPEs has a dominating influence on the models’ performance in predicting the meridional location of the PEPEs at all lead times. The superiority of KISAM indicates that statistical downscaling techniques are effective in alleviating the deficiency of global NWP models for PEPE forecasts in the medium range of 4–10 days.

© 2018 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Panmao Zhai, pmzhai@cma.gov.cn

Abstract

Two persistent extreme precipitation events (PEPEs) that caused severe flooding in the Yangtze–Huai River valley in summer 2016 presented a significant challenge to operational forecasters. To provide forecasters with useful references, the capacity of two objective forecast models in predicting these two PEPEs is investigated. The objective models include a numerical weather prediction (NWP) model from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), and a statistical downscaling model, the Key Influential Systems Based Analog Model (KISAM). Results show that the ECMWF ensemble provides a skillful spectrum of solutions for determining the location of the daily heavy precipitation (≥25 mm day−1) during the PEPEs, despite its general underestimation of heavy precipitation. For lead times longer than 3 days, KISAM outperforms the ensemble mean and nearly one-half or more of all the ensemble members of ECMWF. Moreover, at longer lead times, KISAM generally performs better in reproducing the meridional location of accumulated rainfall over the two PEPEs compared to the ECMWF ensemble mean and the control run. Further verification of the vertical velocity that affects the production of heavy rainfall in ECMWF and KISAM implies the quality of the depiction of ascending motion during the PEPEs has a dominating influence on the models’ performance in predicting the meridional location of the PEPEs at all lead times. The superiority of KISAM indicates that statistical downscaling techniques are effective in alleviating the deficiency of global NWP models for PEPE forecasts in the medium range of 4–10 days.

© 2018 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Panmao Zhai, pmzhai@cma.gov.cn
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