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Timothy D. Mitchell and Joanne Camp

Abstract

The Conway–Maxwell–Poisson distribution improves the precision with which seasonal counts of tropical cyclones may be modeled. Conventionally the Poisson is used, which assumes that the formation and transit of tropical cyclones is the result of a Poisson process, such that their frequency distribution has equal mean and variance (“equi-dispersion”). However, earlier studies of observed records have sometimes found overdispersion, where the variance exceeds the mean, indicating that tropical cyclones are clustered in particular years. The evidence presented here demonstrates that at least some of this overdispersion arises from observational inhomogeneities. Once this is removed, and particularly near the coasts, there is evidence for equi-dispersion or underdispersion. To more accurately model numbers of tropical cyclones, we investigate the use of the Conway–Maxwell–Poisson as an alternative to the Poisson that represents any dispersion characteristic. An example is given for East China where using it improves the skill of a prototype seasonal forecast of tropical cyclone landfall.

Open access
Julia Jeworrek, Gregory West, and Roland Stull

Abstract

Physics parameterizations in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model are systematically varied to investigate precipitation forecast performance over the complex terrain of southwest British Columbia (BC). Comparing a full year of modeling data from over 100 WRF configurations to station observations reveals sensitivities of precipitation intensity, season, location, grid resolution, and accumulation window. The choice of cumulus and microphysics parameterizations is most important. The WSM5 microphysics scheme yields competitive verification scores when compared to more sophisticated and computationally expensive parameterizations. Although the scale-aware Grell–Freitas cumulus parameterization performs better for summertime convective precipitation, the conventional Kain–Fritsch parameterization better simulates wintertime frontal precipitation, which contributes to the majority of the annual precipitation in southwest BC. Finer grid spacings have lower relative biases and a more realistic spread in precipitation intensity distribution, yet higher relative standard deviations of their errors—they produce finer spatial differences and local extrema. Finer resolutions produce the best fraction of correct-to-incorrect forecasts across all precipitation intensities, whereas the coarser 27-km domain yields the highest hit rates and equitable threat scores. Verification metrics improve greatly with longer accumulation windows—hourly precipitation values are prone to double-penalty issues, while longer accumulation windows compensate for timing errors but lose information about short-term precipitation intensities. This study provides insights regarding WRF precipitation performance in complex terrain across a wide variety of configurations, using metrics important to a range of end users.

Open access
DIAN NUR RATRI, KIRIEN WHAN, and MAURICE SCHMEITS

Abstract

The seasonal precipitation forecast is one of the essential inputs for economic and agricultural activities and has significant impact on decision making. Large-scale modes of climate variability have strong relationships with seasonal rainfall in Java and are natural candidates for use as potential predictors in a statistical post-processing application. We explore whether using climate indices as additional predictors in the statistical post-processing of ECMWF Seasonal Forecast System 5 (SEAS5) precipitation can improve skill. We use parametric statistical post-processing by applying a logistic distribution-based Ensemble Model Output Statistics (EMOS) technique. We add a variety of potential predictors in the analysis, namely SEAS5 raw and Empirical Quantile Mapping (EQM) bias-corrected precipitation, Nino3.4 index, Dipole Mode Index (DMI), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) indices, Sea Surface Temperature (SST) around Java, and several other predictors. We analyze the period of 1981-2010, focusing on July, August, September, and October. We use the Continuous Ranked Probability Skill Score (CRPSS) and Brier Skill Score (BSS) in a comparative verification of raw, EQM and EMOS seasonal precipitation forecasts. We have found that it is essential to use EQM-corrected precipitation as a predictor instead of raw precipitation in the latter. Besides, Nino3.4 and DMI forecasts are not needed as extra predictors to improve monthly precipitation forecasts for the first lead month, except for September. However, for somewhat longer lead months, in September and October when there is more skill than climatology, the model that includes only Nino3.4 and DMI forecasts as potential predictors performs about the same compared to the model that uses only EQM-corrected precipitation as a predictor.

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Jihong Moon, Jinyoung Park, Dong-Hyun Cha, and Yumin Moon

Abstract

In this study, the characteristics of simulated tropical cyclones (TCs) over the western North Pacific by a regional model (the WRF model) are verified. We utilize 12 km horizontal grid spacing, and simulations are integrated for 5 days from model initialization. One hundred and twenty-five forecasts are divided into five clusters through the k-means clustering method. The TCs in the cluster 1 and 2 (group 1), which includes many TCs moves northward in subtropical region, generally have larger track errors than for TCs in cluster 3 and 4 (group 2). The optimal steering vector is used to examine the difference in the track forecast skill between these two groups. The bias in the steering vector between the model and analysis data is found to be more substantial for group 1 TCs than group 2 TCs. The larger steering vector difference for group 1 TCs indicates that environmental fields tend to be poorly simulated in group 1 TC cases. Furthermore, the residual terms, including the storm-scale process, asymmetric convection distribution, or beta-related effect, are also larger for group 1 TCs than group 2 TCs. Therefore, it is probable that the large track forecast error for group 1 TCs is a result of unreasonable simulations of environmental wind fields and residual processes in the midlatitudes.

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Joseph B. Zambon, Ruoying He, John C. Warner, and Christie A. Hegermiller

Abstract

Hurricane Florence (2018) devastated the coastal communities of the Carolinas through heavy rainfall that resulted in massive flooding. Florence was characterized by an abrupt reduction in intensity (Saffir-Simpson Category 4 to Category 1) just prior to landfall and synoptic-scale interactions that stalled the storm over the Carolinas for several days. We conducted a series of numerical modeling experiments in coupled and uncoupled configurations to examine the impact of sea surface temperature (SST) and ocean waves on storm characteristics. In addition to experiments using a fully coupled atmosphere-ocean-wave model, we introduced the capability of the atmospheric model to modulate wind stress and surface fluxes by oceanwaves through data from an uncoupled wave model. We examined these experiments by comparing track, intensity, strength, SST, storm structure, wave height, surface roughness, heat fluxes, and precipitation in order to determine the impacts of resolving ocean conditions with varying degrees of coupling. We found differences in the storm’s intensity and strength, with the best correlation coefficient of intensity (r=0.89) and strength (r=0.95) coming from the fully-coupled simulations. Further analysis into surface roughness parameterizations added to the atmospheric model revealed differences in the spatial distribution and magnitude of the largest roughness lengths. Adding ocean andwave features to the model further modified the fluxes due to more realistic cooling beneath the stormwhich in turn modified the precipitation field. Our experiments highlight significant differences in how air-sea processes impact hurricane modeling. The storm characteristics of track, intensity, strength, and precipitation at landfall are crucial to predictability and forecasting of future landfalling hurricanes.

Open access
Young-Chan Noh, Hung-Lung Huang, and Mitchell D. Goldberg

Abstract

To maximize the contribution of the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) measurements to the global weather forecasting, we attempt to choose the CrIS channels to be assimilated in the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Global Forecast System (GFS). From pre-selected 431 CrIS channels, 207 channels are newly selected using a one-dimensional variational (1D-Var) approach where the channel score index (CSI) is used as a figure of merit. Newly selected 207 channels consist of 85 temperature, 49 water vapor, and 73 surface channels, respectively. In addition, to examine how the channels are selected if the forecast error covariance is differently defined depending on the latitudinal regions (i.e., Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and tropics), the same selection process is carried out repeatedly using three regional forecast error covariances. From three regional channel sets, two-channel sets are made for the global data assimilation. One channel set is made with 134 channels overlapped between three regional channel sets. Another channel set consists of 277 channels that is the sum of three regional channel sets. In the global trial experiments, the global CrIS 207 channels have a significant positive forecast impact in terms of the improvement of GFS global forecasting, as compared with the forecasts with the operational 100 channels as well as the overlapped 134 and the union 277 channel sets. The improved forecast is mainly due to the additional temperature/water vapor channels of the global CrIS 207 channels that are selected optimally based on the global forecast error of operational GFS.

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Huijun Huang, Jinnan Yuan, Guanhuan Wen, Xueyan Bi, Ling Huang, and Mingsen Zhou

Abstract

Tropical depressions formed over the South China Sea usually produce severe flooding and wind damage when they develop into a storm and make landfall. To provide an early warning, forecasters should know when, and if, a tropical depression will develop into a tropical storm. To better understand and predict such development, we examine the dynamic and thermodynamic variables of 74 tropical depressions over the South China Sea, 52 of which developed into storms, hereafter ‘developing’, the remaining being classified as ‘nondeveloping’. Using NCEP FNL (National Centers for Environmental Prediction Final) data, verified with ECMWF forecast data, we examine the dynamic and thermodynamic statistics that characterize these tropical cyclones. Based on these characteristics, we propose seven criteria to determine whether a tropical depression will develop. Five had been used before, but two new criteria are also found useful. These two are associated with the diabatic heating rate and help to determine whether a tropical cyclone diurnal cycle exists and whether the convection system remains intact in the center: 1) Presence of a regular diurnal variation of the diabatic heating-rate at the center. 2) Occurrence of specific peaks in the radiative-heating profile. We test all seven criteria on all tropical depression cases in 2018–2019 before the system developed or decayed, showing that these criteria can help to operationally identify whether or not a tropical depression develops into a tropical storm with an average lead time of 36.6 h.

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J. V. Ratnam, Masami Nonaka, and Swadhin K. Behera

Abstract

The machine learning technique, namely Artificial Neural Networks (ANN), is used to predict the surface air temperature (SAT) anomalies over Japan in the winter months of December, January and February for the period 1949/50 to 2019/20. The predictions are made for the four regions Hokkaido, North, Central and West of Japan. The inputs to the ANN model are derived from the anomaly correlation coefficients among the SAT anomalies over the regions of Japan and the global SAT and sea surface temperature anomalies. The results are validated using anomaly correlation coefficient (ACC) skill scores with the observation. It is found that the ANN predictions over Hokkaido have higher ACC skill scores compared to the ACC scores over the other three regions. The ANN predicted SAT anomalies are compared with that of ensemble mean of 8 of the North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) models besides comparing them with the persistent anomalies. The ANN predictions over all the four regions have higher ACC skill scores compared to the NMME model skill scores in the common period of 1982/83 to 2018/19. The ANN predicted SAT anomalies also have higher Hit rate and lower False alarm rate compared to the NMME predicted SAT anomalies. All these indicate that the ANN model is a promising tool for predicting the winter SAT anomalies over Japan.

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Hussen Seid Endris, Linda Hirons, Zewdu Tessema Segele, Masilin Gudoshava, Steve Woolnough, and Guleid A. Artan

Abstract

The skill of precipitation forecasts from global prediction systems has a strong regional and seasonal dependence. Quantifying the skill of models for different regions and timescales is important, not only to improve forecast skill, but to enhance the effective uptake of forecast information. The sub-seasonal to seasonal prediction (S2S) database contains near real-time forecasts and re-forecasts from 11 operational centres and provides a great opportunity to evaluate and compare the skill of operational S2S systems. This study evaluates the skill of these state-of-the-art global prediction systems in predicting monthly precipitation over the Greater Horn of Africa. This comprehensive evaluation was performed using deterministic and probabilistic forecast verification metrics. Results from the analysis showed that the prediction skill varies with months and region. Generally, the models show high prediction skill during the start of the rainfall season in March and lower prediction skill during the peak of the rainfall in April. ECCC, ECMWF, KMA, NCEP and UKMO show better prediction skill over the region for most of the months compared with the rest of the models. Conversely, BoM, CMA, HMCR and ISAC show poor prediction skill over the region. Overall, the ECMWF model performs best over the region among the 11 models analyzed. Importantly, this study serves as a baseline skill assessment with the findings helping to inform how a subset of models could be selected to construct an objectively consolidated multi-model ensemble of S2S forecast products for the Greater Horn of Africa region, as recommended by the World Meteorological Organization.

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Ivana ALEKSOVSKA, Laure RAYNAUD, Robert FAIVRE, François BRUN, and Marc RAYNAL

Abstract

Agriculture is a highly weather-dependent activity, climatic conditions impact both directly crop growth and indirectly diseases and pests developments causing yield losses. Weather forecasts are now a major component of various decision-support systems that assist farmers to optimize the positioning of crop protection treatments. However, properly accounting for weather uncertainty in these systems still remains a challenge. In this paper, three global and regional ensemble prediction systems (EPSs), covering different spatio-temporal scales, are coupled to a temperature-driven developmental model for grape vine moth in order to provide probabilistic forecasts of treatment dates. It is first shown that a parametric post-processing of the EPSs significantly improves the prediction of treatment dates. Anticipating the need for phytosanitary treatments also requires seamless weather forecasts from the next hour to sub-seasonal time scales. An approach is presented to design seamless ensemble forecasts from the combination of the three EPSs used. The proposed method is able to leverage the increased performance of high-resolution EPS at short ranges, while ensuring a smooth transition toward larger-scale EPSs for longer ranges. The added value of this seamless integration on agronomic predictions is, however, difficult to assess with the current experimental setup. Additional simulations over a larger number of locations and years may be required.

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