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Communicating Properties of Changes in Lagged Weather Forecasts

Stephen JewsonaLambda Climate Research Ltd., London, United Kingdom

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6011-6262
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Sebastian ScherbKnow-Center GmbH, Graz, Austria
cDepartment of Meteorology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
dBolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

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Gabriele MessoricDepartment of Meteorology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
dBolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
eDepartment of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
fCentre of Natural Hazards and Disaster Science, Uppsala, Sweden

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Abstract

Weather forecasts, seasonal forecasts, and climate projections can help their users make good decisions. It has recently been shown that when the decisions include the question of whether to act now or wait for the next forecast, even better decisions can be made if information describing potential forecast changes is also available. In this article, we discuss another set of situations in which forecast change information can be useful, which arise when forecast users need to decide which of a series of lagged forecasts to use. Motivated by these potential applications of forecast change information, we then discuss a number of ways in which forecast change information can be presented, using ECMWF reforecasts and corresponding observations as illustration. We first show metrics that illustrate changes in forecast values, such as average sizes of changes, probabilities of changes of different sizes, and percentiles of the distribution of changes, and then show metrics that illustrate changes in forecast skill, such as increase in average skill and probabilities that later forecasts will be more accurate. We give four illustrative numerical examples in which these metrics determine which of a series of lagged forecasts to use. In conclusion, we suggest that providers of weather forecasts, seasonal forecasts, and climate projections might consider presenting forecast change information, in order to help forecast users make better decisions.

Significance Statement

In certain situations, decisions that are made using weather and climate predictions could be improved if information about possible future changes in the predictions were also made available. We discuss these situations, and present a number of ways that providers of forecasts could present such information.

© 2022 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: Stephen Jewson, stephen.jewson@gmail.com

Abstract

Weather forecasts, seasonal forecasts, and climate projections can help their users make good decisions. It has recently been shown that when the decisions include the question of whether to act now or wait for the next forecast, even better decisions can be made if information describing potential forecast changes is also available. In this article, we discuss another set of situations in which forecast change information can be useful, which arise when forecast users need to decide which of a series of lagged forecasts to use. Motivated by these potential applications of forecast change information, we then discuss a number of ways in which forecast change information can be presented, using ECMWF reforecasts and corresponding observations as illustration. We first show metrics that illustrate changes in forecast values, such as average sizes of changes, probabilities of changes of different sizes, and percentiles of the distribution of changes, and then show metrics that illustrate changes in forecast skill, such as increase in average skill and probabilities that later forecasts will be more accurate. We give four illustrative numerical examples in which these metrics determine which of a series of lagged forecasts to use. In conclusion, we suggest that providers of weather forecasts, seasonal forecasts, and climate projections might consider presenting forecast change information, in order to help forecast users make better decisions.

Significance Statement

In certain situations, decisions that are made using weather and climate predictions could be improved if information about possible future changes in the predictions were also made available. We discuss these situations, and present a number of ways that providers of forecasts could present such information.

© 2022 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: Stephen Jewson, stephen.jewson@gmail.com
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