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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 postprocessing application. We explore whether using climate indices as additional predictors in the statistical postprocessing of ECMWF Seasonal Forecast System 5 (SEAS5) precipitation can improve skill. We use parametric statistical postprocessing 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, Niño-3.4 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, Niño-3.4 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 Niño-3.4 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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Wenwei Xu, Karthik Balaguru, Andrew August, Nicholas Lalo, Nathan Hodas, Mark DeMaria, and David Judi

Abstract

Reducing tropical cyclone (TC) intensity forecast errors is a challenging task that has interested the operational forecasting and research community for decades. To address this, we developed a deep learning (DL)-based multilayer perceptron (MLP) TC intensity prediction model. The model was trained using the global Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme (SHIPS) predictors to forecast the change in TC maximum wind speed for the Atlantic basin. In the first experiment, a 24-h forecast period was considered. To overcome sample size limitations, we adopted a leave one year out (LOYO) testing scheme, where a model is trained using data from all years except one and then evaluated on the year that is left out. When tested on 2010–18 operational data using the LOYO scheme, the MLP outperformed other statistical–dynamical models by 9%–20%. Additional independent tests in 2019 and 2020 were conducted to simulate real-time operational forecasts, where the MLP model again outperformed the statistical–dynamical models by 5%–22% and achieved comparable results as HWFI. The MLP model also correctly predicted more rapid intensification events than all the four operational TC intensity models compared. In the second experiment, we developed a lightweight MLP for 6-h intensity predictions. When coupled with a synthetic TC track model, the lightweight MLP generated realistic TC intensity distribution in the Atlantic basin. Therefore, the MLP-based approach has the potential to improve operational TC intensity forecasts, and will also be a viable option for generating synthetic TCs for climate studies.

Open access
Ivana Aleksovska, Laure Raynaud, Robert Faivre, François Brun, and Marc Raynal

Abstract

Agriculture is a highly weather-dependent activity, and climatic conditions impact both directly crop growth and indirectly diseases and pest 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 spatiotemporal scales, are coupled to a temperature-driven developmental model for grapevine moths in order to provide probabilistic forecasts of treatment dates. It is first shown that a parametric postprocessing 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 subseasonal 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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Hung Ming Cheung, Chang-Hoi Ho, Minhee Chang, Dasol Kim, Jinwon Kim, and Woosuk Choi

Abstract

Despite tremendous advancements in dynamical models for weather forecasting, statistical models continue to offer various possibilities for tropical cyclone (TC) track forecasting. Herein, a track-pattern-based approach was developed to predict a TC track for a lead time of 6–8 days over the western North Pacific (WNP), utilizing historical tracks in conjunction with dynamical forecasts. It is composed of four main steps: 1) clustering historical tracks similar to that of an operational 5-day forecast in their early phase into track patterns, and calculating the daily mean environmental fields (500-hPa geopotential height and steering flow) associated with each track; 2) deriving the two environmental variables forecasted by dynamical models; 3) evaluating pattern correlation coefficients between the two environmental fields from step 1 and those from dynamical model for a lead times of 6–8 days; and 4) producing the final track forecast based on relative frequency maps obtained from the historical tracks in step 1 and the pattern correlation coefficients obtained from step 3. TCs that formed in the WNP and lasted for at least 7 days, during the 9-yr period 2011–19 were selected to verify the resulting track-pattern-based forecasts. In addition to the performance comparable to dynamical models under certain conditions, the track-pattern-based model is inexpensive, and can consistently produce forecasts over large latitudinal or longitudinal ranges. Machine learning techniques can be implemented to incorporate nonlinearity in the present model for improving medium-range track forecasts.

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Sarah A. Tessendorf, Allyson Rugg, Alexei Korolev, Ivan Heckman, Courtney Weeks, Gregory Thompson, Darcy Jacobson, Dan Adriaansen, and Julie Haggerty

Abstract

Supercooled large drop (SLD) icing poses a unique hazard for aircraft and has resulted in new regulations regarding aircraft certification to fly in regions of known or forecast SLD icing conditions. The new regulations define two SLD icing categories based upon the maximum supercooled liquid water drop diameter (Dmax): freezing drizzle (100–500 μm) and freezing rain (>500 μm). Recent upgrades to U.S. operational numerical weather prediction models lay a foundation to provide more relevant aircraft icing guidance including the potential to predict explicit drop size. The primary focus of this paper is to evaluate a proposed method for estimating the maximum drop size from model forecast data to differentiate freezing drizzle from freezing rain conditions. Using in situ cloud microphysical measurements collected in icing conditions during two field campaigns between January and March 2017, this study shows that the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh model is capable of distinguishing SLD icing categories of freezing drizzle and freezing rain using a Dmax extracted from the rain category of the microphysics output. It is shown that the extracted Dmax from the model correctly predicted the observed SLD icing category as much as 99% of the time when the HRRR accurately forecast SLD conditions; however, performance varied by the method to define Dmax and by the field campaign dataset used for verification.

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Matthew C. Brown, Christopher J. Nowotarski, Andrew R. Dean, Bryan T. Smith, Richard L. Thompson, and John M. Peters

Abstract

The response of severe local storms to environmental evolution across the early evening transition (EET) remains a forecasting challenge, particularly within the context of the Southeast U.S. storm climatology, which includes the increased presence of low-CAPE environments and tornadic nonsupercell modes. To disentangle these complex environmental interactions, Southeast severe convective reports spanning 2003–18 are temporally binned relative to local sunset. Sounding-derived data corresponding to each report are used to characterize how the near-storm environment evolves across the EET, and whether these changes influence the mode, frequency, and tornadic likelihood of their associated storms. High-shear, high-CAPE (HSHC) environments are contrasted with high-shear, low-CAPE (HSLC) environments to highlight physical processes governing storm maintenance and tornadogenesis in the absence of large instability. Last, statistical analysis is performed to determine which aspects of the near-storm environment most effectively discriminate between tornadic (or significantly tornadic) and nontornadic storms toward constructing new sounding-derived forecast guidance parameters for multiple modal and environmental combinations. Results indicate that HSLC environments evolve differently than HSHC environments, particularly for nonsupercell (e.g., quasi-linear convective system) modes. These low-CAPE environments sustain higher values of low-level shear and storm-relative helicity (SRH) and destabilize postsunset—potentially compensating for minimal buoyancy. Furthermore, the existence of HSLC storm environments presunset increases the likelihood of nonsupercellular tornadoes postsunset. Existing forecast guidance metrics such as the significant tornado parameter (STP) remain the most skillful predictors of HSHC tornadoes. However, HSLC tornado prediction can be improved by considering variables like precipitable water, downdraft CAPE, and effective inflow base.

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Akira Yamazaki, Takemasa Miyoshi, Jun Inoue, Takeshi Enomoto, and Nobumasa Komori

Abstract

An ensemble-based forecast sensitivity to observations (EFSO) diagnosis has been implemented in an atmospheric general circulation model–ensemble Kalman filter data assimilation system to estimate the impacts of specific observations from the quasi-operational global observing system on weekly short-range forecasts. It was examined whether EFSO reasonably approximates the impacts of a subset of observations from specific geographical locations for 6-h forecasts, and how long the 6-h observation impacts can be retained during the 7-day forecast period. The reference for these forecasts was obtained from 12 data-denial experiments in each of which a subset of three radiosonde observations launched from a geographical location was excluded. The 12 locations were selected from three latitudinal bands comprising (i) four Arctic regions, (ii) four midlatitude regions in the Northern Hemisphere, and (iii) four tropical regions during the Northern Hemisphere winter of 2015/16. The estimated winter-averaged EFSO-derived observation impacts well corresponded to the 6-h observation impacts obtained by the data denials and EFSO could reasonably estimate the observation impacts by the data denials on short-range (from 6 h to 2 day) forecasts. Furthermore, during the medium-range (4–7 day) forecasts, it was found that the Arctic observations tend to seed the broadest impacts and their short-range observation impacts could be projected to beneficial impacts in Arctic and midlatitude North American areas. The midlatitude area was located just downstream of dynamical propagation from the Arctic toward the midlatitudes. Results obtained by repeated Arctic data-denial experiments were found to be generally common to those from the non-repeated experiments.

Open access
Jonathan M. Garner, William C. Iwasko, Tyler D. Jewel, Richard L. Thompson, and Bryan T. Smith

Abstract

A dataset maintained by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) of 6300 tornado events from 2009 to 2015, consisting of radar-identified convective modes and near-storm environmental information obtained from Rapid Update Cycle and Rapid Refresh model analysis grids, has been augmented with additional radar information related to the low-level mesocyclones associated with tornado longevity, pathlength, and width. All EF2–EF5 tornadoes [as measured on the enhanced Fujita (EF) scale], in addition to randomly selected EF0–EF1 tornadoes, were extracted from the SPC dataset, which yielded 1268 events for inclusion in the current study. Analysis of those data revealed similar values of the effective-layer significant tornado parameter for the longest-lived (60+ min) tornadic circulations, longest-tracked (≥68 km) tornadoes, and widest tornadoes (≥1.2 km). However, the widest tornadoes occurring west of −94° longitude were associated with larger mean-layer convective available potential energy, storm-top divergence, and low-level rotational velocity. Furthermore, wide tornadoes occurred when low-level winds were out of the southeast, resulting in large low-level hodograph curvature and near-surface horizontal vorticity that was more purely streamwise when compared with long-lived and long-tracked events. On the other hand, tornado pathlength and longevity were maximized with eastward-migrating synoptic-scale cyclones associated with strong southwesterly wind profiles through much of the troposphere, fast storm motions, large values of bulk wind difference and storm-relative helicity, and lower buoyancy.

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Samantha Ferrett, Thomas H. A. Frame, John Methven, Christopher E. Holloway, Stuart Webster, Thorwald H. M. Stein, and Carlo Cafaro

Abstract

Forecasting rainfall in the tropics is a major challenge for numerical weather prediction. Convection-permitting (CP) models are intended to enable forecasts of high-impact weather events. Development and operation of these models in the tropics has only just been realized. This study describes and evaluates a suite of recently developed Met Office Unified Model CP ensemble forecasts over three domains in Southeast Asia, covering Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The fractions skill score is used to assess the spatial scale dependence of skill in forecasts of precipitation during October 2018–March 2019. CP forecasts are skillful for 3-h precipitation accumulations at spatial scales greater than 200 km in all domains during the first day of forecasts. Skill decreases with lead time but varies depending on time of day over Malaysia and Indonesia, due to the importance of the diurnal cycle in driving rainfall in those regions. Skill is largest during daytime when precipitation is over land and is constrained by orography. Comparison of CP ensembles using 2.2-, 4.5-, and 8.8-km grid spacing and an 8.8-km ensemble with parameterized convection reveals that varying resolution has much less effect on ensemble skill and spread than the representation of convection. The parameterized ensemble is less skillful than CP ensembles over Malaysia and Indonesia and more skillful over the Philippines; however, the parameterized ensemble has large drops in skill and spread related to deficiencies in its diurnal cycle representation. All ensembles are underspread indicating that future model development should focus on this issue.

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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 time scales is important, not only to improve forecast skill, but to enhance the effective uptake of forecast information. The Subseasonal to Seasonal Prediction project (S2S) database contains near-real-time forecasts and reforecasts from 11 operational centers 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 multimodel ensemble of S2S forecast products for the Greater Horn of Africa region, as recommended by the World Meteorological Organization.

Open access