A Summary of GFS Ensemble Integrated Water Vapor Transport Forecasts and Skill Along the U.S. West Coast during Water Years 2017–2020

View More View Less
  • 1 Meteorology Program, Plymouth State University, Plymouth, NH
  • 2 Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA
© Get Permissions
Restricted access

Abstract

The ability to provide accurate forecasts and improve situational awareness of atmospheric rivers (ARs) is key to impact-based decision support services and applications such as forecast-informed reservoir operations. The purpose of this study is to quantify the cool-season water year skill for 2017–2020 of the NCEP Global Ensemble Forecast System forecasts of integrated water vapor transport along the U.S. West Coast commonly observed during landfalling ARs. This skill is summarized for ensemble probability-over-threshold forecasts of integrated water vapor transport magnitudes ≥250 kg m–1 s–1 (referred to as P250). The P250 forecasts near North-Coastal California at 38°N, 123°W were reliable and successful at lead times of ~8–9 days with an average success ratio >0.5 for P250 forecasts ≥50% at lead times of 8 days and Brier skill scores >0.1 at a lead time of 8–9 days. Skill and accuracy also varied as a function of latitude and event characteristics. The highest (lowest) success ratios and probability of detection values for P250 forecasts ≥50% occurred on average across northern California and Oregon (southern California), whereas the average probability of detection of more intense and longer duration landfalling ARs was 0.1–0.2 higher than weaker and shorter duration events at lead times of 3–9 days. The potential for these forecasts to enhance situational awareness may also be improved, depending on individual applications, by allowing for flexibility in the location and time of verification; the success ratios increased 10–30% at lead times of 5-to-10 days allowing for flexibility of ±1.0° latitude and ±6 hours in verification.

Corresponding Author: Jason M. Cordeira, Plymouth State University, 17 High Street, MSC 48, Plymouth, NH 03264, Phone: (603) 535 2410. Email: j_cordeira@plymouth.edu

Abstract

The ability to provide accurate forecasts and improve situational awareness of atmospheric rivers (ARs) is key to impact-based decision support services and applications such as forecast-informed reservoir operations. The purpose of this study is to quantify the cool-season water year skill for 2017–2020 of the NCEP Global Ensemble Forecast System forecasts of integrated water vapor transport along the U.S. West Coast commonly observed during landfalling ARs. This skill is summarized for ensemble probability-over-threshold forecasts of integrated water vapor transport magnitudes ≥250 kg m–1 s–1 (referred to as P250). The P250 forecasts near North-Coastal California at 38°N, 123°W were reliable and successful at lead times of ~8–9 days with an average success ratio >0.5 for P250 forecasts ≥50% at lead times of 8 days and Brier skill scores >0.1 at a lead time of 8–9 days. Skill and accuracy also varied as a function of latitude and event characteristics. The highest (lowest) success ratios and probability of detection values for P250 forecasts ≥50% occurred on average across northern California and Oregon (southern California), whereas the average probability of detection of more intense and longer duration landfalling ARs was 0.1–0.2 higher than weaker and shorter duration events at lead times of 3–9 days. The potential for these forecasts to enhance situational awareness may also be improved, depending on individual applications, by allowing for flexibility in the location and time of verification; the success ratios increased 10–30% at lead times of 5-to-10 days allowing for flexibility of ±1.0° latitude and ±6 hours in verification.

Corresponding Author: Jason M. Cordeira, Plymouth State University, 17 High Street, MSC 48, Plymouth, NH 03264, Phone: (603) 535 2410. Email: j_cordeira@plymouth.edu
Save