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J. V. Ratnam, Takeshi Doi, Yushi Morioka, Pascal Oettli, Masami Nonaka, and Swadhin K. Behera

Abstract

The selective ensemble mean (SEM) technique is applied to the late spring and summer months (May–August) surface air temperature anomaly predictions of the Scale Interaction Experiment–Frontier Research Center for Global Change, version 2 (SINTEX-F2), coupled general circulation model over Japan. Using the Köppen–Geiger climatic classification we chose four regions over Japan for applying the SEM technique. The SINTEX-F2 ensemble members for the SEM are chosen based on the anomaly correlation coefficients (ACC) of the SINTEX-F2 predicted and observed surface air temperature anomalies. The SEM technique is applied to generate the forecasts of the surface air temperature anomalies for the period 1983–2018 using the selected members. Analysis shows the ACC skill score of the SEM prediction to be higher compared to the ACC skill score of predictions obtained by averaging all the 24 members of the SINTEX-F2 (ENSMEAN). The SEM predicted surface air temperature anomalies also have higher hit rate and lower false alarm rate compared to the ENSMEAN predicted anomalies over a range of temperature anomalies. The results indicate the SEM technique to be a simple and easy to apply method to improve the SINTEX-F2 predictions of surface air temperature anomalies over Japan. The better performance of the SEM in generating the surface air temperature anomalies can be partly attributed to realistic prediction of 850-hPa geopotential height anomalies over Japan.

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Gui-Ying Yang, Samantha Ferrett, Steve Woolnough, John Methven, and Chris Holloway

Abstract

A novel technique is developed to identify equatorial waves in analyses and forecasts. In a real-time operational context, it is not possible to apply a frequency filter based on a wide centered time window due to the lack of future data. Therefore, equatorial wave identification is performed based primarily on spatial projection onto wave mode horizontal structures. Spatial projection alone cannot distinguish eastward- from westward-moving waves, so a broadband frequency filter is also applied. The novelty in the real-time technique is to off-center the time window needed for frequency filtering, using forecasts to extend the window beyond the current analysis. The quality of this equatorial wave diagnosis is evaluated. First, the “edge effect” arising because the analysis is near the end of the filter time window is assessed. Second, the impact of using forecasts to extend the window beyond the current date is quantified. Both impacts are shown to be small referenced to wave diagnosis based on a centered time window of reanalysis data. The technique is used to evaluate the skill of the Met Office forecast system in 2015–18. Global forecasts exhibit substantial skill (correlation > 0.6) in equatorial waves, to at least day 4 for Kelvin waves and day 6 for westward mixed Rossby–gravity (WMRG), and meridional mode number n = 1 and n = 2 Rossby waves. A local wave phase diagram is introduced that is useful to visualize and validate wave forecasts. It shows that in the model Kelvin waves systematically propagate too fast, and there is a 25% underestimate of amplitude in Kelvin and WMRG waves over the central Pacific.

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George P. Pacey, David M. Schultz, and Luis Garcia-Carreras

Abstract

The frequency of European convective windstorms, environments in which they form, and their convective organizational modes remain largely unknown. A climatology is produced using 10 233 severe convective wind reports from the European Severe Weather Database between 2009 and 2018. Severe convective wind days have increased from 50 days yr−1 in 2009 to 117 days yr−1 in 2018, largely because of an increase in reporting. The highest frequency of reports occurred across central Europe, particularly Poland. Reporting was most frequent in summer, when a severe convective windstorm occurred every other day on average. The preconvective environment was assessed using 361 proximity soundings from 45 stations between 2006 and 2018, and a clustering technique was used to distinguish different environments from nine variables. Two environments for severe convective storms occurred: Type 1, generally low-shear–high-CAPE (convective available potential energy; mostly in the warm season) and Type 2, generally high-shear–low CAPE (mostly in the cold season). Because convective organizational mode often relates to the type of weather hazard, convective organizational mode was studied from 185 windstorms that occurred between 2013 and 2018. In Type-1 environments, the most frequent convective mode was cells, accounting for 58.5% of events, followed by linear modes (29%) and the nonlinear noncellular mode (12.5%). In Type-2 environments, the most frequent convective mode was linear modes (55%), followed by cells (36%) and the nonlinear noncellular mode (9%). Only 10% of windstorms were associated with bow echoes, a lower percentage than other studies, suggesting that forecasters should not necessarily wait to see a bow echo before issuing a warning for strong winds.

Open access
Yuxiao Chen, Jing Chen, Dehui Chen, Zhizhen Xu, Jie Sheng, and Fajing Chen

Abstract

The simulated radar reflectivity used by current mesoscale numerical weather prediction models can reflect the grid precipitation but cannot reflect the subgrid precipitation generated by a cumulus parameterization scheme. To solve this problem, this study developed a new simulated radar reflectivity calculation method to obtain the new radar reflectivity corresponding to the subgrid-scale and grid-scale precipitation based on the mesoscale Global/Regional Assimilation and Prediction System (GRAPES) model of the China Meteorological Administration. Based on this new method, two 15-day forecast experiments were carried out for two different time periods (11–25 April 2019 and 1–15 August 2019), and the radar reflectivity products obtained by the new method and previous method were compared. The results show that the radar reflectivity obtained by the new simulated radar reflectivity calculation method gives a clear indication of the subgrid-scale precipitation in the model. Verification results show that the threat scores of the improved experiments are better than those of the control experiments in general and that the reliability of the simulated radar reflectivity for the indication of precipitation is improved. It is concluded that the new simulated radar reflectivity calculation method is effective and significantly improves the reflectivity products. This method has good prospects for providing more information about forecasting precipitation and convective activity in operational models.

Open access
Christien J. Engelbrecht, Steven Phakula, Willem A. Landman, and Francois A. Engelbrecht

Abstract

The NCEP CFSv2 and ECMWF hindcasts are used to explore the deterministic subseasonal predictability of the 850-hPa circulation of a large domain over the Atlantic and Indian Oceans that is relevant to the weather and climate of the southern African region. For NCEP CFSv2, 12 years of hindcasts, starting on 1 January 1999 and initialized daily for four ensemble members up to 31 December 2010 are verified against ERA-Interim reanalysis data. For ECMWF, 20 years of hindcasts (1995–2014), initialized once a month for all the months of the year are employed in a parallel analysis to investigate the predictability of the 850-hPa circulation. The ensemble mean for 7-day moving averages is used to assess the prediction skill for all the start dates in each month of the year, with a focus on the start dates in each month that are representative of the week-3 and week-4 hindcasts. The correlation between the anomaly patterns over the study domain shows skill over persistence up into the week-3 hindcasts for some months. The spatial distribution of the correlation between the anomaly patterns show skill over persistence to notably reduce over the domain by week 3. A prominent area where prediction skill survives the longest, occur over central South America and the adjacent Atlantic Ocean.

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Shoupeng Zhu, Xiefei Zhi, Fei Ge, Yi Fan, Ling Zhang, and Jianyun Gao

Abstract

Bridging the gap between weather forecasting and climate prediction, subseasonal to seasonal (S2S) forecasts are of great importance yet currently of relatively poor quality. Using the S2S Prediction Project database, the study evaluates products derived from four operational centers of CMA, KMA, NCEP, and UKMO, and superensemble experiments including the straightforward ensemble mean (EMN), bias-removed ensemble mean (BREM), error-based superensemble (ESUP), and Kalman filter superensemble (KF), in forecasts of surface air temperature with lead times of 6–30 days over northeast Asia in 2018. Validations after the preprocessing of a 5-day running mean suggest that the KMA model shows the highest skill for either the control run or the ensemble mean. The nonequal weighted ESUP is slightly superior to BREM, whereas they both show larger biases than EMN after a lead time of 22 days. The KF forecast constantly outperforms the others, decreasing mean absolute errors by 0.2°–0.5°C relative to EMN. Forecast experiments of the 2018 northeast Asia heat wave reveal that the superensembles remarkably improve the raw forecasts featuring biases of >4°C. The prominent advancement of KF is further confirmed, showing the regionally averaged bias of ≤2°C and the hit rate of 2°C reaching up to 60% at a lead time of 22 days. The superensemble techniques, particularly the KF method of dynamically adjusting the weights in accordance with the latest information available, are capable of improving forecasts of spatiotemporal patterns of surface air temperature on the subseasonal time scale, which could extend the skillful prediction lead time of extreme events such as heat waves to about 3 weeks.

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Felipe M. de Andrade, Matthew P. Young, David MacLeod, Linda C. Hirons, Steven J. Woolnough, and Emily Black

Abstract

This paper evaluates subseasonal precipitation forecasts for Africa using hindcasts from three models (ECMWF, UKMO, and NCEP) participating in the Subseasonal to Seasonal (S2S) prediction project. A variety of verification metrics are employed to assess weekly precipitation forecast quality at lead times of one to four weeks ahead (weeks 1–4) during different seasons. Overall, forecast evaluation indicates more skillful predictions for ECMWF over other models and for East Africa over other regions. Deterministic forecasts show substantial skill reduction in weeks 3–4 linked to lower association and larger underestimation of predicted variance compared to weeks 1–2. Tercile-based probabilistic forecasts reveal similar characteristics for extreme categories and low quality in the near-normal category. Although discrimination is low in weeks 3–4, probabilistic forecasts still have reasonable skill, especially in wet regions during particular rainy seasons. Forecasts are found to be overconfident for all weeks, indicating the need to apply calibration for more reliable predictions. Forecast quality within the ECMWF model is also linked to the strength of climate drivers’ teleconnections, namely, El Niño–Southern Oscillation, Indian Ocean dipole, and the Madden–Julian oscillation. The impact of removing all driver-related precipitation regression patterns from observations and hindcasts shows reduction of forecast quality compared to including all drivers’ signals, with more robust effects in regions where the driver strongly relates to precipitation variability. Calibrating forecasts by adding observed regression patterns to hindcasts provides improved forecast associations particularly linked to the Madden–Julian oscillation. Results from this study can be used to guide decision-makers and forecasters in disseminating valuable forecasting information for different societal activities in Africa.

Open access
Cheng Zheng, Edmund Kar-Man Chang, Hyemi Kim, Minghua Zhang, and Wanqiu Wang

Abstract

The prediction of wintertime extratropical cyclone activity (ECA) on subseasonal time scales by models participating in the Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) and the Seasonal to Subseasonal Prediction (S2S) is assessed. Consistent with a previous study that investigated the S2S models, the SubX models have skillful predictions of ECA over regions from central North Pacific across North America to western North Atlantic, as well as East Asia and northern and southern part of eastern North Atlantic at 3–4 weeks lead time. SubX provides daily mean data, while S2S provides instantaneous data at 0000 UTC each day. This leads to different variance of ECA. Different S2S and SubX models have different reforecast initialization times and reforecast time periods. These factors can all lead to differences in prediction skill. To fairly compare the prediction skill between different models, we develop a novel way to evaluate the prediction of individual model across the two ensembles by comparing every model to the Climate Forecast System, version 2 (CFSv2), as CFSv2 has 6-hourly output and forecasts initialized every day. Among the S2S and SubX models, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts model exhibits the best prediction skill, followed by CFSv2. Our results also suggest that while the prediction skill is sensitive to forecast lead time, including forecasts up to 4 days old into the ensemble may still be useful for weeks 3–4 predictions of ECA.

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Nicholas P. Klingaman, Matthew Young, Amulya Chevuturi, Bruno Guimaraes, Liang Guo, Steven J. Woolnough, Caio A. S. Coelho, Paulo Y. Kubota, and Christopher E. Holloway

Abstract

Skillful and reliable predictions of week-to-week rainfall variations in South America, two to three weeks ahead, are essential to protect lives, livelihoods, and ecosystems. We evaluate forecast performance for weekly rainfall in extended austral summer (November–March) in four contemporary subseasonal systems, including a new Brazilian model, at 1–5-week leads for 1999–2010. We measure performance by the correlation coefficient (in time) between predicted and observed rainfall; we measure skill by the Brier skill score for rainfall terciles against a climatological reference forecast. We assess unconditional performance (i.e., regardless of initial condition) and conditional performance based on the initial phase of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) and El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). All models display substantial mean rainfall biases, including dry biases in Amazonia and wet biases near the Andes, which are established by week 1 and vary little thereafter. Unconditional performance extends to week 2 in all regions except for Amazonia and the Andes, but to week 3 only over northern, northeastern, and southeastern South America. Skill for upper- and lower-tercile rainfall extends only to week 1. Conditional performance is not systematically or significantly higher than unconditional performance; ENSO and MJO events provide limited “windows of opportunity” for improved S2S predictions that are region and model dependent. Conditional performance may be degraded by errors in predicted ENSO and MJO teleconnections to regional rainfall, even at short lead times.

Open access
Christopher A. Kerr, Louis J. Wicker, and Patrick S. Skinner

Abstract

The Warn-on-Forecast system (WoFS) provides short-term, probabilistic forecasts of severe convective hazards including tornadoes, hail, and damaging winds. WoFS initial conditions are created through frequent assimilation of radar (reflectivity and radial velocity), satellite, and in situ observations. From 2016 to 2018, 5-km radial velocity Cressman superob analyses were created to reduce the observation counts and subsequent assimilation computational costs. The superobbing procedure smooths the radial velocity and subsequently fails to accurately depict important storm-scale features such as mesocyclones. This study retrospectively assimilates denser, 3-km radial velocity analyses in lieu of the 5-km analyses for eight case studies during the spring of 2018. Although there are forecast improvements during and shortly after convection initiation, 3-km analyses negatively impact forecasts initialized when convection is ongoing, as evidenced by model failure and initiation of spurious convection. Therefore, two additional experiments are performed using adaptive assimilation of 3-km radial velocity observations. Initially, an updraft variance mask is applied that limits radial velocity assimilation to areas where the observations are more likely to be beneficial. This experiment reduces spurious convection as well as the number of observations assimilated, in some cases even below that of the 5-km analysis experiments. The masking, however, eliminates an advantage of 3-km radial velocity assimilation for convection initiation timing. This problem is mitigated by additionally assimilating 3-km radial velocity observations in locations where large differences exist between the observed and ensemble-mean reflectivity fields, which retains the benefits of the denser radial velocity analyses while reducing the number of observations assimilated.

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